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What is the Resurrection of the Dead?

More than 3,000 years ago, the prophet Daniel wrote, “At that time… there shall be a time of trouble (tribulation); 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.  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth (grave) shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  In these two verses, Daniel speaks of the end times or last days, resurrection of the dead, and the judgment to come.

When asked about the last days or ‘end of the age (Matt. 24:3),’ Jesus spoke of the ‘signs’ and things to come and then said as Daniel, “There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be… and immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened… and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven… and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect…  (Matt. 24:21, 29-31),”

And concerning these things, Jesus told the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, saying: “

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed (see Parable of the Sower; Luke 8:11- The Most Important Parable in the Bible) in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.  So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn’.”

And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”   (Matthew chapter 13)

The apostle John speaks to all these things as well.  In Revelation, he prophesied saying, “I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”  So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped (Rev. 14:14-16).”

And John quoted Jesus saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forththose who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation… (John 5:24-29).”

And in Revelation John saw “a great white throne and Him who sat on it… and the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened… and the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were in it, and Death and Hell (Hades) delivered up the dead… Then Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire…  And John saw… the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven… but there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life… (Rev. 20:11-15; 21:27).”

Concerning the first death and judgment, it is written: “…it is appointed unto men once to die; but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27);” “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or evil (Eccl. 12:14);” “for it is written, ‘as surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow (in heaven and earth – Phil. 2:10) before Me; any every tongue will confess to God; each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (Rom. 14:11-12).”

So what is the resurrection of the dead?  It is the time after ‘that day (2 Thes. 2:3),’ that of the ‘coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thes. 2:1),’ ‘at the last trumpet (1 Thes. 4:16),’ that all of ‘the dead will be raised imperishable (1 Cor. 15:52)’ from the grave and all on earth (which will die if still living at the coming of the Lord); when as Job said, ‘though my flesh is destroyed, I know, that in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25).   The righteous will receive eternal life in ‘glorified bodies (Phil. 3:21);’ but the unrighteous will suffer ‘torment forever (Rev. 14:11).’

Thus, the Lord Jesus said, as recorded in the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?   When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him,[d] saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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