Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 95 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 15 minutes, or so, we are going to continue our series on the elementary teachings of Christianity with this, our fifth installment.
I would encourage you to start at the beginning of this series in season 2 episode 91 about baptism, and then work your way back up to here. The topics in this series are the milk of Christian theology. These are the things we understand to be the very first basics that you should teach a new Christian you are discipling. Something we don’t see a lot of these days, discipling, so a lot of Christians haven’t been taught this stuff. This list comes straight from Hebrews 6:1-2 CSB, “ Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God,  teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” In this installment we’ll be taking about the resurrection of the dead. We will be scripture heavy in this installment as we don’t want to speculate or sensationalize this topic as is the custom of so many.
The resurrection of the dead is the long held religious belief spanning several cultures that one day everyone will rise from the dead to be judged by the sum of their life and then sent on to their afterlife. The Abrahamic and Christian faiths are among those that adhere to this teaching. We have to start though by establishing that there are those who teach that things like the resurrection of the dead, return of the Lord, and other prophecies in the New Testament were all fulfilled in AD70 when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. However, the book of 2 Timothy is dated as having been written as early as AD90 (20 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple) or as late as AD140, clearly after the referenced destruction. And in 2 Timothy 2:16-18 CSB we read, “ Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness,  and their teaching will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them.  They have departed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are ruining the faith of some.” So, clearly no, the resurrection, the return of the Lord, and other New Testament prophecies were not fulfilled in AD70 by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
Now that we’ve established that were not just spinning our wheels talking about something that hasn’t already happened, let’s look at what Jesus said about the resurrection. In Matthew 22 we find some Jewish religious leaders who don’t believe in the resurrection trying to catch Jesus in a logical flaw concerning marriage over the belief and Jesus replies, Matthew 22:29-32 CSB, “ You are mistaken, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.  Now concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God:  I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” He brings up the resurrection again in John 5:27-29 CSB, “ And (the Father) has granted (the Son) the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.  Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice  and come out-those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
In Acts 17:30b-31 CSB Paul teaches, “ God now commands all people everywhere to repent,  because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead."
And in 1 Corinthians 15:12-58 CSB he writes, “ Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, "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, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith.  Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ-whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.  If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.  But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.  For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power.  For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be abolished is death.  For God has put everything under his feet. Now when it says "everything" is put under him, it is obvious that he who puts everything under him is the exception.  When everything is subject to Christ, then the Son himself will also be subject to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.  Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them?  Why are we in danger every hour?  I face death every day, as surely as I may boast about you, brothers and sisters, in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus as a mere man, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.  Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."  Come to your senses and stop sinning; for some people are ignorant about God. I say this to your shame.  But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?"  You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  And as for what you sow-you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain.  But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body.  Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.  There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones.  There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another star in splendor.  So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption;  sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power;  sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.  Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven.  And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.  What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption.  Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will 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 incorruptible, and we will be changed.  For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.  When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
This last bit of scripture here will be where the idea of the rapture comes from. Not that it uses the word, but that the word rapture means to be caught up and that phrase is used in this excerpt. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 CSB, “ We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord's coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”