|RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD |
It is the peculiar glory of the New Testament that it makes a full revelation of this great doctrine, which was questioned or derided by the wisest of the heathen, Acts 17:32. In the Old Testament also we find, though less frequently, the doctrine asserted; as for example, Isaiah 26:19 Daniel 12:2. When our Saviour appeared in Judea, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was received as a principal article of religion by the whole Jewish nation except the Sadducees. Their denial of it rested on the assumption that at death the whole man, soul and body, perishes. "The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit," Acts 23:8. Hence the refutation of this unscriptural assumption was a complete overthrow of the ground on which their denial of a future resurrection rested; for if the soul can survive the body, it is plain that God can give it another body. In this way our Lord met and effectually refuted them, Matthew 22:31,32 Mark 12:26,27.
The resurrection of Christ is everywhere represented in the New Testament as a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all the just, who are united to him by faith, 1 Corinthians 15:49 1 Thessalonians 3:13, in virtue of their union with him as their Head. He is "the resurrection and the life," John 11:25; they "sleep in Jesus," and shall be brought to glory "with him," 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 5:10; their "life is hid with Christ in God," Colossians 3:3; and because he lives, they shall live also, John 14:19. The Scriptures also teach that there will be a resurrection of the unjust. But they shall be raised, not to be glorified with Christ, but to be judged by him, and sentenced to eternal punishment, Daniel 12:2 John 5:28,29 compared with Matthew 28:20 Acts 24:15.
To cavillers against this doctrine in his own day, Christ replied, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." The work is miraculous; and He who is omniscient and omnipotent will permit nothing to frustrate his designs. He has not revealed to us the precise nature of the spiritual body, nor in what its identity with the earthly body consists; but it will be incorruptible, fashioned like Christís glorious body, Philippians 3.21, and a meet companion of the soul made perfect in his likeness.