Resurrection Refs
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Is 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 not resurrected?
2. What are firstfruits?
3. Verse 22 refers to people being “in Christ”. How does 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 the 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 raise people from the dead is one of the things that establishes him as God. It is particularly important because resurrection is the means by which he will deliver salvation to his chosen people.

After resurrection, a person is either given eternal life in the Kingdom of God or is excluded and suffers a “second death”.
Jesus said

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 that of 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 that sleep.

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. (Daniel 12:2-3)

The idea of resurrection of the body was clearly believed in Old Testament times. For example, Job said that he had great expectation of standing before God on earth some time after his death.

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 will 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 to keep its hold on him” because he was sinless.
Acts 2:24 His resurrection also 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 the “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 to 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 6:4-5)

God introduced death to mankind and will eventually eliminate it. In the end Jesus Christ will rule a kingdom that knows no death.

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 Corinthians 15:22-26)


• The hope of resurrection is one of the foundations of the gospel.
• 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 life.
• Jesus will raise people from the dead when he returns to the earth.
• After resurrection, a person is either given eternal life in the Kingdom of God or is excluded and suffers a “second death”.


1. How many people can you find in the Bible who were brought back to life?
2. 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
18. Death
37. Baptism
44. Judgement
45. The kingdom of God

 
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