The Timing of the Resurrection

Are you saying that Christians who die today will not be resurrected until the last day?

Yes. Jesus said that everyone that the Father has given Him will be drawn to Him and raised at the ‘last day’, not sooner. Like any Jewish believer of the time, Martha’s response shows the common expectation of Jewish believers, that her brother would rise ‘at the last day’ (Jn 11:24).

John 11:23-24
Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

If we compare Job’s amazing expectation that he would see with his own eyes,in a real flesh and bone body, his Redeemer when His feet shall stand upon the earth, with Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah’s feet would stand on the Mount of Olives at the day of the Lord.

Job 19:25-27
For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Zechariah 14:4
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…

And if we see when Isaiah expected to be raised at the time of Israel’s national deliverance at the post-tribulational day of the Lord. along with all the righteous dead (Isa 25:7-8; 26:19-20).

Isaiah 25:7-8
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 26:16-19
LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

This, with Daniel’s personal assurance that he would be raised at the end of the unequaled trouble when his people would at last be finally and permanently delivered out from under the cruel yoke, not only of the gentiles but of the sin that sold them (see Dan 12:1-2, 13),

Daniel 12:1-2
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:13
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

These and several other passages show why the hope of OT believer was to be raised at the ‘last day’, as confessed by Martha. Of course they did not understood this term to mean the last day of the present earth’s existence, but the last day of this present evil age. This is the same hope that Jesus promises to those who would henceforth believe on Him (see Jn 6:39-40; 44, 54). The early church knew of no other!

John 6:39-40, 44
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose none, but raise them up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Paul was bound in chains for the ‘hope of Israel’, which he identified as the ‘hope of the resurrection of the dead’ (see Acts 23:6; 26:6-7; 28:20). This hope has never changed to something else. Perfected union with the Lord in risen, fully perfected bodies is the ‘blessed hope’ of the body of Christ, even better understood by the fuller light of the gospel. But a better understanding does nothing to change the time established by Jesus and the many plain scriptures from both testaments.

According to scripture, a believer has already been spiritually raised, united, and sit down with Christ, waiting for the redemption of the body when the Lord shall return a second time “immediately after the tribulation of those days” to “gather together His elect” (compare Mt 24:31 with 2Thes 2:1). Until then, those who die ‘in the Lord’ (Rev 14:13) are said to ‘sleep in Christ’. Paul says that the spirits of departed saints are alive and “present with the Lord” (compare Mt 22:32; 2Cor 5:8).

It is absurd to suppose that an eternally alive, redeemed spirit, “present with the Lord”, is unconscious. Quite the contrary, a few scriptures show plainly that the redeemed in heaven are not only conscious but aware of events on earth, as in Rev 12. Consider Rev 19:10 where the heavenly messenger is a ‘brother’ from among John’s ‘fellow servants’. This is a term applied elsewhere to the prophets. So whether Daniel or some other of the prophets, this is not a description of an angel. It is one of John’s brethren.

The “spirits of just men made perfect” that are part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ (Heb 12:1, 23) are not angels, but are ‘like’ the angels (Mt 12:25), only not yet united with the imperishable physical body that is fitted for the new creation, first for millennial rule, and then for that ultimate perfection of the new heavens and earth that will be free from the natural laws of entropy and decay. This will be no static existence, but like science’s discovery of an ever expanding universe, the scripture says of the kingdom of David’s greater son, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa 9:7)

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