Present Truth

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Christ’s Resurrection

The Sadducees had evidently been influencing the Corinthians with their denial of the resurrection, so Paul wrote, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:12-22).

Notice Paul’s argument here. He said that if there is no resurrection from the dead, then all those who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished, and we would only have hope in Christ “in this life only.” The resurrection is our only hope of attaining a better life. If there is no resurrection, then our short time on earth is the end of the story for us. We learn from this that those who have fallen asleep in Christ are not alive anywhere. Instead, they are awaiting the resurrection when they will receive their reward. That is why “sleep” is such a perfect term for the condition of those who have died. They are asleep, awaiting the resurrection.

The Greek word, αναστασις—anastasis, translated, “resurrection,” itself illustrates this fact, for it means “restored to life.” This Greek word is used twice in the following verse: “Women received their dead raised to life again [αναστασις—anastasis]: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection [αναστασις—anastasis]” (Hebrews 11:35). If resurrection is “raising to life again,” then between the time a man dies and the time he is resurrected, he is not alive. The resurrection guarantees that fact. That is how Peter could be so certain that David had not yet gone to heaven, because the presence of his bones in his grave proved that he had not yet been resurrected. When Jesus was resurrected, His body left the grave (Luke 24:22, 23), and He said that He had “not yet ascended to my Father…” (John 20:17).

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