The Biblical Doctrine of Resurrection:
In I Corinthians 15:3-8 Paul says, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that HE WAS RAISED on the third day according to Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brethren at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep in death. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." Twice in this passage Paul uses the phrase "according to the Scriptures." Once to refer to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, and once to refer to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures, because the New Testament had not been written yet. In fact, it was in the process of being written at that time. The Old Testament clearly taught Christ's death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session.
Concerning the resurrection, Jesus, after His resurrection, was walking with two believers on the road to Emmaus, and began talking with them. The incident is recorded in Luke 24:25-27, "....How foolish you are, and slow of heart (thinking) to believe ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAD SPOKEN! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? AND BEGINNING WITH MOSES AND THE PROPHETS, he explained to them what was said in ALL THE SCRIPTURES (Old Testament) concerning himself." When the unbelieving Jews asked Him for a sign concerning His Messiahship, He responded, "....A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:39-40).
At Pentecost, Peter quoted from Psalm 16 and then commented that David, the writer of the Psalm, "Looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned in Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay." (Acts 2:25-31).
Paul proclaimed before King Agrippa, "And so, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great (to important people, and not so important people) stating nothing but what the prophets and Moses said was going to take place, that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22-23).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which Christianity rests. If Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead then there would be no true Christianity, only a hollow and false shell. In I Corinthians 15:12-20, Paul speaks of the importance of believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "But if it is proclaimed that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 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. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile and useless; and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in death in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. BUT CHRIST HAS INDEED BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death." Therefore, if you do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you cannot be a true Christian. Because true Christianity depends totally upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, and today He is in heaven seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (Heb 8:1), and in the future He is returning to this earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. (Rev 1:7).
It is also important to note at this time the difference between resuscitation and resurrection. Resuscitation means that one is brought back from the dead to die again. Many resuscitations are recorded in the Bible, and I believe that many resuscitations have occurred throughout the world throughout history. But every individual who has been brought back from the dead by resuscitation has eventually died again. Resurrection on the other hand, means that one is brought back from the dead never to die again. So far Jesus Christ is the only human being to have been resurrected, and therefore He will never die again. That is why we as Christians serve a risen Savior, not a dead martyr like many other religions. Resurrection brings the human body back to life in a permanent status of life which will never die again.
Today there is a false doctrine being communicated that is evil, and it does not in any way line up with the Bible. It is reincarnation. Reincarnation is a false doctrine, and for a Christian to even consider it is absurd. Why? Because the Bible is very clear that reincarnation does not exist. It is only an attempt to discredit God and His perfect Word. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:8 that when we die we are immediately "Absent from the body and present with the Lord." No reincarnation, no soul sleep, and no annihilation. Also in Luke 16:19-31, Jesus taught about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The moment they died physically, they were in the dwelling place of the dead. Lazarus was in Paradise, and the rich man was in Torment. Again, no reincarnation, no soul sleep, and no annihilation.
Since Jesus Christ has been resurrected, since He has paved the way, this means that every person who places his faith in Him as his personal Savior will one day receive a perfect resurrection body just like the body of our Lord's. Philippians 3:20-21 tells us, "....our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await our Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, WILL TRANSFORM OUR LOWLY BODIES SO THAT THEY WILL BE LIKE HIS GLORIOUS BODY." What type of body did our Lord possess after His resurrection? He could pass through walls without using the door, He could move great distances without walking, He defied gravity as the disciples watched Him ascend into heaven. But also, He could eat and drink. All that with a body that will never die. And it is guaranteed to all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Therefore, if you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ, then you are missing out on a great many things. You are missing out on God's blessings He gives in this life, you are going to miss out on a glorified resurrection body, and most important of all, you are going to miss out on going to heaven. Because heaven is only for those individuals who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. So I encourage you to accept Him now, before it is to late. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31). "Whoever believes in the Son possesses eternal life, but whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life, for God's wrath (judgment) rests on him." (John 3:36). Believe in Jesus Christ and become a partner in eternal life and in the kingdom of God. Hope to see you there!
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Copyright 1999 by Robert H. Kreger. All rights reserved. Anyone may reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.