there an afterlife? Some people believe in reincarnation, some
believe they have an immortal soul that lives on; but what does
the Bible say about life after death?
1 Corinthians 15:12-26
Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth to clear up some questions they had about death and resurrection.
1. What are the implications of believing that Christ was
2. What are firstfruits?
3. Verse 22 refers to people being “in Christ”.
someone become “in Christ”?
4. What other New Testament references are there about
being “in Christ”?
5. How is Jesus contrasted with Adam?
6. Why is death the last enemy? Is this linked to death being
the “wages of sin”?
The chapter continues, giving more detail about resurrection
and the hope of victory over death. It concludes with encouragement to the readers to do all they can to stand firm in
Lord, so they will see the day of resurrection.
A foundation of the gospel
The hope of resurrection is a foundation belief-other aspects
of salvation are built on this belief. Acts 23:6; 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:13-19. The fact that God can
people from the dead is one of the things that establishes
as God. It is particularly important because resurrection
means by which he will deliver salvation to his chosen people.
After resurrection, a person is either given eternal life
Kingdom of God or is excluded and suffers a “second
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who
are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those
who have done good will rise to live, and those who have
done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28-29)
The resurrection will occur when Jesus returns to earth. Then,
the mortal bodies of believers will be changed to be like
Jesus after his resurrection: Matthew 16:27 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Timothy 4:8;
. . . we eagerly await a Saviour. . . the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything
under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that
they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Waking from sleep
Death is portrayed as sleep, and resurrection as waking from
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the
brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to
righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
The idea of resurrection of the body was clearly believed
Testament times. For example, Job said that he had great
expectation of standing before God on earth some time after
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he
will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been
destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see
him with my own eyes-I, and not another. How my heart
yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)
This emphasizes that the body is raised again and that Job
be more than a “spirit being” after he is resurrected.
A clear demonstration of God’s power
Jesus was resurrected as “it was impossible for death
its hold on him” because he was sinless. Acts 2:24 His resurrection
showed he was the Son of God and it was a demonstration
of God’s power. Romans
1:4 1 Corinthians 15 describes Jesus as
“firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”.
This means that
his was the first resurrection, demonstrating to all mankind
that God has the power to raise people from the dead, and
give eternal life.
How could Jesus’ resurrection be the first when several people were raised from the dead before him?
Other people have risen from the dead, but they have all since
died again. Jesus was raised to immortality. For others, the
resurrection to immortality will only take place when Jesus
Christ returns to the earth.
We have the hope of resurrection once we have pledged allegiance to Jesus through baptism. Baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection-going into the water is like being buried
when dead, and coming out of the water is like being raised
from the dead to a new life.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into
death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we
will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.(Romans
God introduced death to mankind and will eventually eliminate
it. In the end Jesus Christ will rule a kingdom that knows
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then,
when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end
will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the
Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and
power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies
under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1
• The hope of resurrection is one of the foundations
Death is portrayed as a sleep and resurrection as arising
from that sleep.
The Bible says going into, and then out of, the waters of
baptism is like dying and then being raised to a new life.
It is a type of resurrection.
Jesus is the only person to have been raised to eternal
Jesus will raise people from the dead when he returns to
After resurrection, a person is either given eternal life
the Kingdom of God or is excluded and suffers a “second
1. How many people can you find in the Bible who were
brought back to life?
What did the Apostle Paul mean when he wrote in 1 Corinthians
15:50 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom
of God”? Why doesn’t this contradict Job when
he said, “in my flesh I will see God”? Job 19:26
The hope of resurrection:
|Job 19:25-27; Psalm 16:9-10; 17:15; 49:15; Isaiah 26:19;
Daniel 12:2-3,13; Hosea 13:14; Matthew 22:30; John 5:25-29;
6:39-40,44,54; 11:23-25; Acts 23:6; 24:15; 1 Corinthians 6:14;
15:12-58; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians
4:14-17; Revelation 20:4-6.
Baptism and resurrection:
|Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12.
Death as a sleep:
|Deuteronomy 31:16; Job 7:21; 14:12; Psalm 13:3; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 9:24; John 11:11-13; Acts 13:36; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:6,51; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 5:10.
1. Investigate the references to sleep as a symbol of death
in both the Old and New Testaments.
2. Study the speeches of the Apostle Paul recorded in the
Acts of the Apostles. What conclusions can you draw about
the importance of hope in resurrection? What is “the
hope of Israel” referred to in Acts 28:20?
3. Daniel 12:2 implies that not all people who have died will
be raised. What scriptural passages can you find which show
who will not be raised?
• The Christadelphians: what they believe and preach
by Harry Tennant (published by The Christadelphian, 1986),
Chapter 19: “Resurrection and judgement”. 16 pages.
A clear and thorough discussion of the subject.
• BB Studies 4.5 and 4.8 and Digressions 13 and 14.
• Wrested scriptures by Ron Abel (published by The Christadelphians,
Pasadena). Pages 137-149 deal with passages about resurrection
that are frequently misinterpreted.
2. Reasons to believe the Bible
45. The kingdom of God