The Bible is very clear on the subject of death and the state of a person. It is also very clear on the hope that God promises to those who desire to obey and please Him in this life. Their reward is given and the hope realized at a future point after their death when they are raised from the dead: when they are resurrected.
It is because of the state of death that the concept of resurrection is so important and a fundamental Bible teaching. Resurrection provides hope for the believer that there is a promise of life after death.
The word “resurrection” simply means, “a standing up, or to rise from the dead”. The word itself does not occur in the Bible until the New Testament; however, it is taught in the Old Testament and is implicit in the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. Jesus believed in the resurrection of the dead; Jesus taught resurrection; Jesus himself was resurrected from the dead; and Jesus stated, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25, ESV).
And he (God the Father) has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgement. (John 5:27-29, ESV)
The Bible provides examples of resurrection, such as the resurrection of Lazarus in John chapter 11; however, the apostle Paul provides as excellent explanation in 1 Corinthians 15:12-14,
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
The resurrection of the dead for believers is confirmed by the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (vv.20-23, ESV)
All human beings are dying creatures due to Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Jesus made the resurrection of the dead possible by his death and resurrection and the first to be raised to eternal life. The resurrection will occur at Jesus’ return to the earth.
As human beings, we possess a corruptible or decaying nature. In order to have our nature changed to an incorruptible or undying nature, we must first die and then be raised from the dead. This change is termed “a spiritual body”.
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. (vv.50-54, ESV)
We cannot inherit the Kingdom of God in a state of mortality or corruption. When Jesus returns to the earth, there will be a summons for those who are to be raised. It will be at this time that those who are to receive immortality will have their nature changed from mortal to immortal. At this point, death will have no power over these people. The resurrection of the dead provides hope and encouragement in this life of a better and unending life in the future. When Jesus returns, the resurrection will occur and then the hope of eternal life will become a reality!
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