Apostle Paul, when making his defense before Felix, governor of the Roman province of Judea, between the years 52 and 60, said, "...I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wickedt..." (Acts 24:15). The Apostle says that there will be a general resurrection for both Christians and non-Christians. Apostle John thinks also in the same way. He says: " 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 what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned" (John 5:29).

Still, with the same understanding, there is also the Apostle Matthew, who says: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world... Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (25:31-34,41).

Although this is a universal event, Apostle Paul, in some of his texts, gives details of how the "harvest" of Christians will be for this final event. In a very detailed description in chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians, he says: "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality" (1 Corinthians 15: 51-53). "We will not all sleep," that is, we shall not all die, according to the understandings of the Jews of that time. 

This necessity exists because the human body had its original constitution altered at the Fall, that is, at the first sin, no longer supporting the divine presence. Thus, writing to the Philippians, Paul says: "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, 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" (3.20,21). Also in his first letter to the Thessalonians, this apostle explains that the dead in Christ will rise first, then the Christians who are alive will be caught up and transformed, in the twinkling of an eye, and meet the Lord in the air (4:13-18). 

At the Fall, man, who is an integrality of body and spirit, died. His body and his spirit were changed and could no longer bear the presence of God. For this reason, body and spirit need to be restored. The body's restoration, as shown, will occur in the resurrection of the dead, but the spirit's restoration already occurs in this life. When man meets God through His Word and receives Christ into his being as Lord and Savior, what Jesus called the "new birth" occurs (John 3:1-8). It is a transformation performed by the Holy Spirit, in which the human being is reborn to God. Paul calls this spiritual transformation the "resurrection." He says that "God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions... And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms..." (Ephesians 2:1-6).

Regarding the non-God-fearing, how does the resurrection of the dead take place? They will be resurrected to go straight to the final judgment. The Apostle John states, "the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done" (Revelation 20:13). The expression "the sea gave up the dead that were in it" means that the people of the living nations, at the time of the Lord's coming, will die as a result of the final events of the apocalypse and be resurrected for judgment. And the other expression "death and Hades gave up the dead" is understood to mean how people who have died by that time and even since the beginning of mankind will also be resurrected to appear before the "great white throne," that is, the final judgment.

The relevance of the resurrection of the dead is that it represents the end of death and the total restoration of man to his original condition, allowing him to live again in God's presence as at the beginning of humanity. It will occur at the end of time, with the second coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15.22,23). It is associated with the final judgment and will be general, that is, for Christians and non-Christians. It will take place at a time when there will be no more humanity on earth, because all will be dead because of the divine judgments, poured out during the great tribulation. Creation, as we know it today, will no longer exist. It will be restored with "new heavens and a new earth", where those who walk with God and have been restored in body and spirit will live (Revelation 21:1). But those who have rejected Christ in this life will be cast into a godless existence marked by a state of eternal suffering (Revelation 20:11-15).

Antônio Maia – M.Div

Copyrights reserved


Popular Posts