Resurrection

Resurrection is something under a lot of debate in the Christian world today. While Christians should universally believe that Christ rose from the dead, we often differ on the next instance of it in the Bible: when it pertains to us. Some believe that resurrection happens during a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, others believe it happens during the Second Coming, and some, I have found, don’t even believe in it at all. I intend to do two things with this article: 1) give you a deeper understanding of what resurrection actually is, and 2) paint a more colorful picture of how it affects us.

Like I said, it’s (mostly) universally agreed by Christians that Christ rose from the grave on the third day after the crucifixion. We believe that the stone which sealed His grave was rolled away and He emerged being alive and well. Everyone knows this. It is pretty much the basis of Christianity aside from receiving our salvation. So, I am going to turn to another story of resurrection in the Bible to teach you what I’ve gotten from God about this.

The story of Lazarus is told in John 11. Christians deeper in their walk with Christ will know the story, however those who are new to the faith may not hear about it until much later. I will give a short recap.

Mary of Bethany had not long ago anointed Jesus’ feet with oil and wiped his feet with her hair. She had a sister named Martha and a brother named Lazarus. These three siblings were very close friends to Jesus. However, in John 11, Lazarus becomes deathly ill. Meanwhile, Jesus has been out in Jerusalem ministering to the people during a special holiday called the Feast of Dedication. After surviving a brutal attack from the Jews and religious Pharisees where they attempted to stone Him to death, Jesus and His disciples flee to a place beyond the Jordan, where John the Baptist had originally baptized people.

Mary and Martha send word to Jesus about Lazarus’ illness. They are urging Him to return so that He may heal him. After hearing this, Jesus remains where He is for two more days and then tells His disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” (John 11:7) The disciples then question Him, almost as if He doesn’t know what He’s doing, because they had just recently escaped that place. Jesus tells them about the importance of being a light even in dark places, and then tells them they are going to Bethany because Lazarus has now died.

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

***

32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”


 

So let’s back this up a bit. Jesus is speaking to Martha, basically inquiring of her belief in the resurrection. She tells Him that she believes Lazarus will rise again at the last day, the day which even the Jews believed was the set time for God to bring the dead back to life. However, Jesus corrects her.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

This is something I want you to really take in. Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life.”

God revealed something to me while reading this. We know that God created the universe. We know God made you and I, and all of us. All of God’s works are good. Furthermore, all of God’s creation mirrors His perfection. We often look at nature and we can identify God’s handiwork in it. It reflects the creative spark of the Father and gives us insight on the vast resources of His knowledge in engineering life and all creation. All creation reflects God in some way. Mankind reflects it the most in that we are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27).

We often think of Satan as hating us, as hating the world, as hating all of creation. While this is true, Satan really just hates God. He could care less about everything else. He just really, really hates God. So by nature, he wants to corrupt anything God creates because it is a reflection of God. Satan takes endless pleasure in perverting the image of God. Wd9D6vM.jpg

Where God created man, Satan tricked us into believing man created God. Where God created marriage, Satan created adultery. Where God created love, Satan crafted lust. On and on. God made righteousness, Satan made unrighteousness. God made happiness, Satan introduced grief. The Lord created all things perfect, but the enemy did his best to flip things in complete one-eighties and make them imperfect and as far from the image of God as possible. And the biggest one of these was this:

Where God created life, Satan introduced sin, which created death, because God only allows perfect creations to live eternally. Now here is an important part:

One of the biggest reasons for Jesus’ existence and role in human history is to reverse death back on itself.

So God the Father put His Son on the earth. Jesus, who is the literal personification of resurrection. He is the physical embodiment of true life, the pureness of creation.

Now, here is where is applies to us.

20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

It’s common knowledge that Christ’s own Spirit dwells within us. It dwells within our bodies. However, notice that it also says that Jesus dwells within the Father. And likewise we dwell within Jesus. So Jesus is basically telling us that our own spirit dwells within God. Soak that in for a moment. Isn’t that amazing to think about? Your spirit is not in your body. Your soul, the very essence of your life, is not in your body as everyone believes. It is already with the Father. Your spirit lives in God. But your mind is still here on earth with your body. My spirit is attached to me, and it is attached to my body, but it does not reside there.

But, there is a spirit that lives in your body, but it is not yours. Jesus’ Spirit dwells directly inside of your body. That sounds unbelievable. I mean, how could our horrible, defiled, mortal bodies possibly be capable of carrying the soul of the Living Son of God within us? Well they aren’t worthy, but God deems that they are worth it.

Jesus dwells within our bodies, and since Jesus is the resurrection, we are brought back to life.

You see, resurrection isn’t just a miracle. It’s not just some act performed by God. Resurrection is God. Life itself is only possible if it is perfect. Otherwise, life ends. Death is a result of imperfection. Death is a result of sinful corrosion, corruption, defilement. Satan himself is death. He is the force of ruin, sin, destruction, and he is the embodiment of death. He seeks to mercilessly lay waste to all things in the physical realm.

Satan is death. God therefore, as his polar opposite, is life. And if life is perfect, it does not end. And if it does not end, death is defeated. This was the purpose of the crucifixion. To kill sin and show that Christ is life and He cannot be destroyed. Eternal life, the force only bestowed by God, cannot be silenced. It was the greatest battle plan. Incredibly sneaky on God’s part. The devil thought he was killing the Son of God and gaining victory. However, the devil ended up killing the body which had absorbed all of the world’s sins, which killed sin itself. Additionally, and this sounds very confusing, but killing death. The crucifixion did more than kill sin. It killed death.


Our Resurrection

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 13:18)

Many people confuse this passage with an event they believe will happen before the Great Tribulation (Google it), called the Rapture. This belief stems from a lot of misunderstood Bible verses taken out of context. My opinion is an absolute minority here, but I will tell you what I believe about the Rapture. Most people believe the church will be taken up into Heaven in a woosh, just before the Antichrist comes to rise and the final punishments of God are spread upon the earth.

I do not believe this. For a number of reasons. I could go on and on, but I will give you the short version to keep this article from turning into a book.

1 Thessalonians 13:17 is not talking about something that happens before the Tribulation, but rather after it. If you read the entire chapter, Paul is talking about the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming of Christ. He is not talking about some worldwide vanishing of Christians. Next, if you read the book of Revelation, you will find that Christians are present all the way to the end of the world. Who else is supposed to fight the forces of the Antichrist if all the Christians are swooped away? Who is supposed to help liberate the lost in the end times? Who is supposed to carry the Word of God till the end of the earth?

The Rapture is real, of course. But our placement of it is wrong. It happens much later. It happens at the Second Coming along with the resurrection of the dead. You may disagree with me, and that’s fine. Differing opinions help shape our world. But that is my interpretation of it and I hold to that.


In conclusion, I hoped to keep this short and basic while also providing some insight onto what I’ve learned about God’s definition of resurrection. Share this information with those you know, encourage them and give them hope. That day is coming soon!

BLESSINGS,

Ethan Curtis.

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