Resurrection. What a wonderful victory Jesus demonstrated over hades, the grave and death.
What does it mean for us? How does it apply in a practical way to our Christian life? The Gospel is always practical. Notice how Jesus used earthly parables concerning the Kingdom of God that was coming upon them:
“The Parable of The Sower” ~ The Kingdom of God is like: A man sowing seed in the dirt. Some seeds take good root and respond well to the elements of nature and thrive. Others do not and die.
“The Parable of Leaven” ~ The Kingdom of God is like: A woman that mixed yeast into here dough until it spread throughout the entire loaf.
“A Banquet Feast” ~ The Kingdom of God is like: A great feast prepared by a rich King. Many people were invited to come eat and drink but, refused. The King sent his servants to invite everyone else instead.
The Bible often used Earthly descriptions concerning our Heavenly reality.
The purpose of the parables was not to show us what the afterlife would be like but, what the Kingdom of God coming to earth (at that time) would be like.
It was about life on earth, not in Heaven.
Jesus also clarified the idea of “The Resurrection”. When the religious leaders challenged him, they attacked doctrinal ideas of their enemies through their questions ~
Matthew 22:23On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him,24asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.’ 25“Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh.27“Last of all, the woman died. 28“In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.”
29But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God:32‘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.” 33When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
Luke recorded his answer this way ~
“34Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37“But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB. 38“Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”
Jesus did not allow them to deny the existence of “The Resurrection” (Notice this perhaps very intentional term) but, he clarified “The Resurrection”.
What if his point was that The Resurrection was not physical but, spiritual? Bear with me because I am sure Pauline ideas are popping up right not. But, consider that Jesus never clearly talks about a physical resurrection of all our bodies….
That’s a good place to pause.
RESURRECTION QUESTIONS ~
Let’s start from scratch. Let’s deconstruct all previous myths about a guaranteed future resurrection of the body for the sake of this discussion. We are not throwing out the possibility of a future bodily resurrection completely; just throwing out the idea that is what Jesus, Paul and John articulated. Do you see the difference? It’s a matter of questioning the timing of a bodily resurrection.
We don’t know that all of eternity will be like. Just like the Jews had a glimpse into the coming Age, after the Mosaic; we have a glimpse of the age following this one. Just because we question the idea of the Gospel speaking about a literal bodily resurrection at the end of this age does not mean that we throw the idea out completely.
I believe there is much more to come in future ages that we know little or nothing about.
Eternity is not about us sitting on clouds in Heaven (in physical bodies no less…). We will not be playing harps and singing to Jesus on a big throne for 8-10 hours a day before heading back to our “golden mansion” to relax for a few hours, get some sleep and repeat the next day.
Let’s keep the idea of a future, literal bodily resurrection as a possibility for a future age but, not the point of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Can we throw out the bath water but keep the baby as we consider a non-literal interpretation of “The Resurrection” that Jesus mentioned?
RESURRECTION FACTS ~
Back to Jesus’ words ~
1.Jesus is The Resurrection.
I find it interesting that He did not say ~ I am the First Resurrection… but, He said “I am The Resurrection….” As if from His perspective their is not a first and a second separated by a literal 1,000 year period (Rev.20) but, there is One and only One Resurrection and it’s Him. Maybe, more accurately…it’s IN Him.
2. No Marriage in The Resurrection.
First, isn’t it interesting that none of the NT writers ever recorded The Resurrection with the word “at”, as though it were an event. They always wrote “in” as though it were more than an event but, a reality. Kind of like “In Christ”. Secondly, since there is no marriage and we will be “like angels”; how will we multiply and fill the earth? What about all of the OT promises prophesied about our children/descendants?
There are so many promises for our children that modern Christianity has pushed into the future “Millennium”but, according to Jesus: we will not be marrying or having children IN The Resurrection. Since Rev.20 clearly links “The First Resurrection” with the “Millennium”, we need to consider the very real possibility that none of those OT promises can literally apply to what Jesus called “The Resurrection”.
I know this can make a person’s head spin. I have slowed down in my writing to talk to the Lord, taken a break and come back because it’s not an easy idea to challenge. But, the crux of the matter is that Jesus made it clear that “in The Resurrection” (and therefore “Millennium”) the partakers will not marry. Will not reproduce. They will also be like angels ….
3.Immortal, like angels ~ “36for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” Luke 20
Isaiah had promised that the people in the “New Heaven and New earth” would live and die but, 100 years would be considered young. (Isaiah 65:20)This same passage also promises that people will have children.
But, “In The Resurrection” the partakers will not die. They will not have children.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Consider ~ Revelation never once talks about a Resurrection of the body. The “First Resurrection” was clearly the Believer’s “Souls” and not body.
When we read these passages, we should notice how we think. John linked “The Resurrection” with “sitting on thrones” and “Reigning with Christ” for “1,000 years” but how much of that is literal? Because he linked those ideas with us “being Priests”.
Remember what “being a priest” would have literally meant to them. Spending a lot of time inside a physical Temple, performing tedious washing rituals and sacrifices twice a day…There can never be a literal Priestly role without the washings and literal sacrifices. There would be no purpose. It would be the most boring existence on earth.
Honestly, most of the promises to the “over-comers” in Revelation are extremely boring and uninteresting if taken literally.
There is not and never will be another literal priesthood in a physical Temple that pleases God. Who wants to resign their future to a thousand year period literally sitting on a throne next to millions (billions?) of other believers circling Jesus on the extremely crowded Temple Mount?
Yawn. What a boring reward that would be. Seriously, how much better is God’s promise than that lame existence?
I don’t want to get stuck in this sarcastic mode, making fun of literal interpretations of spiritual truths that can only be interpreted spiritually though. But if we interpret God’s heavenly promises according to earthly wisdom, we are going to miss out on the High calling of revealing his glory in the earth!
The point was that Revelation 20 is the most detailed account of what must be “The Resurrection of the righteous/ The First Resurrection” and “The Resurrection of the unrighteous/ The Second Resurrection”. These were talked about throughout the N.T. and probably even in Daniel’s prophecy. However, Revelation makes no specific mention of a “bodily Resurrection”.
Just like Jesus.
This is seriously worth considering.
I’ve got to wrap this up. It’s going to have to continue in the next blogpost. I will present the verses (mostly Pauline) that challenge the idea of this “spiritual resurrection” because there are definitely some that seem to clearly indicate a physical resurrection. Hopefully by that time, the Lord will have revealed it but, I don’t have all the answers 🙂
*Note for next blog ~ Acts 4 “1And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.