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Resurrection of the Dead


Jesus told his disciples, “As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whom he chooses” (Jn 5:21).

Everyone born in the world has to die physically because death came into the world by the original sin (Rom 5:12). The Father will raise them to another life of joy or sorrow based on their response to the Word of God. Though the common resurrection and judgement will happen at the second coming of Christ, God raised many through his representatives to extend their lifespan. The power of raising the dead is a high attribute of divinity that God shared with His prophets, His Son Jesus, and the apostles of Jesus. They are:

1. Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath’s son. “The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he lived” (1 Kgs 17:22).

2. Elisha raised a Shunammite woman’s son from the dead (2 Kgs 4:18-37).

3. A man was buried in the grave of Elisha. When his corpse came in contact with Elisha’s bones, he came back to life (2 Kgs 13:20-21).

4. Jesus raised the son of the widow of Naim (Lk 7:11–17).

5. Jesus raised the young daughter of a synagogue official named Jairus (Lk 8:40-56).

6. The greatest miracle of Jesus was the raising of Lazarus four days after his burial (Jn 11:1-44).

7. At Jesus’ death on the cross, “The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Mt 27:51-53).

8. Peter raised Tabitha after her death in the coastal city of Joppa (Acts 9:36-42).

9. Paul raised a young man named Eutychus who died, falling down from the ledge of a window of the third storey where he had fallen asleep, listening to the late-night talk of Paul (Acts 20:7-12).

10. Jesus rose from the dead. That differed from all others because he will not die anymore. Those whom the prophets, Jesus, or the apostles raised from the dead, died again. The resurrection of Jesus is the assurance of our eternal life. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power” (1 Cor 15:20-24).

The resurrection of the dead is not limited to the righteous followers of Jesus. It will occur to all for reward or punishment. Daniel had prophesied, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; Some to everlasting life, others to reproach and everlasting disgrace” (Dan 12:2). Jesus revealed the concept of universal resurrection. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus details the judgement of the nations. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Mt 25:41-42). He concludes by saying, “And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Mt 25:46). On the basis of Jesus’ teachings, Paul says, “There will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous” (Acts 24:15).

Paul wrote on the ultimate destiny of the afflicted and those who afflict others. “For it is surely just on God’s part to repay with afflictions those who are afflicting you, and to grant rest along with us to you who are undergoing afflictions, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his mighty angels, in blazing fire, inflicting punishment on those who do not acknowledge God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess 1:6-9).



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