The Six Foundation Doctrines - Hebrews 6:1-2
Bible Study Series Part 5: Resurrection of the Dead
Notes prepared by Pastor Bob Beverley
To listen to Pastor Bob presenting this Bible study click here.
Philippians 3:11 'if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead'.
The apostle Paul here speaks of his confidence in life after death and an eternal future. Eternity is a concept that our natural minds find difficult, nevertheless resurrection and eternal life are fundamental to Christian belief.
Isaiah 57 speaks of the God 'who inhabits eternity'. In Exodus 3 God calls himself 'I AM', and Revelation 10 tells us that 'in eternity there should be time no longer'. For us there comes a moment when we step out of time into eternity.
Let us consider two things that are on the other side of time - resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
1Corinthians 15 says that 'in Adam (natural man) all die, but in Christ (spiritual man) shall all be made alive' and we know this is only possible through the death and resurrection of Christ. Romans 14 tells us that 'Christ is the Lord of the dead and the living'.
1Corinthians 15 makes mention of those who will be alive when Christ returns (we shall not all sleep!). There are two others (Enoch and Elijah) that did not die but were taken - the Bible does not offer any further explanation.
Judgment is the sixth and final foundation doctrine, but briefly Romans 14, which was written to Christians, says 'everyone will give an account of themselves to God'. Hebrews 9 talks about 'dying once, then judgment', and 2Corinthians 5 says 'all will stand at the judgment seat of Christ'.
Resurrection of the Body
The next concept is the resurrection of the body. Hebrews 4
speaks of 'dividing soul and spirit', indicating the threefold nature of man - spirit, soul and body
- and in Genesis 1 God says 'let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (God also has a threefold nature - father, son and spirit). When we die the spirit and soul are freed from the earthen vessel that was made from the dust of earth and that returns to it, until resurrection when God will make it again from the same elements.
So where do the spirit and the soul dwell after the death of the natural body? Ecclesiastes 3
talks of the 'spirit of man ascending, and the spirit of the beast going downwards', and Ecclesiastes 12
says 'the spirit shall return to God who gave it'.
Two questions are firstly, when will this happen, and secondly, what is the difference between those who are righteous and those who are unrighteous?
The Bible tells us that the righteous will sleep awaiting resurrection at the return of Christ (the first resurrection), and the unrighteous will sleep until the second resurrection 1000 years later. There are still the intriguing questions after resurrection - will we recognise one another, will there be communication, will there be personalities? Isaiah 14:9,10, Job 19:25-27, Isaiah 26:19 & Luke 24
seem to answer yes to these questions.
In Luke 16
the story of the rich man who died and went to hell, and the beggar Lazarus who died and went to Abraham's bosom, seems to describe events prior to the resurrection (this story is also a kingdom parable about Israel and Judah). Is Abraham's bosom a state of rest, faith and obedience marked out by Abrahams' life and testimony? Is hell a place of sleep or of torment or fearful anticipation? I believe it is a place of rest and sleep for the righteous but fearful anticipation for the unrighteous. Whether the rich man is asleep or in fearful anticipation, 'tormented in this flame' is a fearful warning of future ultimate judgment for some.
After death the body goes to the grave or tomb and the spirit and soul go to the place normally translated 'hell' (Hebrew 'Sheol', Greek 'Hades'). We should not necessarily think of 'hell' in the traditional terms of fiery torment. Psalm 16,
a prophecy of Christ's death and resurrection, is quoted in Acts 2:25-28
as having come to pass and there are two distinct parts:
1. Christ's body was laid in the tomb but did not suffer corruption, and
2. His soul and spirit descended to hell (Sheol) but only for three days before resurrection.
Note that there is another place called the lake of fire where the devil, the beast and the false prophet will eventually be. (Revelation 20:10)
In Luke 23
Jesus said to the thief on the cross 'this day you will be with me in paradise', meaning the garden of Gethsemane where the bodies of Jesus and the thief were laid. But their spirits and souls were in hell - the thief's until the second resurrection. 1Peter 3 speaks of Jesus being put to death in the flesh but being made alive in the Spirit, and that he then preached to the spirits in prison or hell (the place of rest).
The Bible has some comment on the nature of the resurrected body. In Luke 24
Jesus, appearing to his disciples after his resurrection, said 'behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have'. So Jesus had a body, but one no longer subject to the normal limitations of a mortal body. In Luke 21
Jesus says that enemies would put some of his followers to death, but 'not a hair of your heads shall perish' - so the resurrected righteous will have a body, but not as we know it now.
Resurrection was foretold in the Old Testament. As well as the references in Job 19, Isaiah 26:19 and Psalm 16; Daniel 1:2,3
says that 'many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and contempt'. Verse 3 makes a possible future distinction between those who are wise, probably with regard to their own salvation, ('and shall shine like the brightness of the firmament') and those who turn many to righteousness, ('like the stars forever and ever').
contains a prophecy of Christ and of a general resurrection, the resurrection of Christ closely followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the former rain and latter rain.
1 Corinthians 15:22-24
says 'in Christ shall all be made alive, Jesus being the firstfruit, and afterwards those that are his at his coming'. See John 5:25, Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 5:14, John 5:28,29
('the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice'). Note that as in Daniel 12, the resurrection of the righteous precedes the general resurrection (which includes the wicked).
contains the Lord's instructions to Moses about the Feast of Firstfruits and describes how the first complete fruit to rise up out of the seed that had been buried in the earth was to be waved as a sheaf before the Lord 'on the morrow after the Sabbath'. The Sabbath was the seventh or last day of the week and therefore the morrow was the first day (which is when Christ rose from the dead).
In Matthew 27
straight after Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying that a way into God's presence was open to all, and Old Testament 'saints' were raised from their graves and appeared to many. This was a fulfilment of the Old Testament pattern of waving the firstfruits before the people and a demonstration that God will raise everyone for judgment. What happened to these Old Testament 'saints' then? They returned to their graves and await the second resurrection, like all those who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Those that are Christ's at his Coming
describes the redemption of the purchased possession - purchased, or redeemed, by the shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, at his sacrifice.
There are five main purposes for the return of Christ:
1. For the Church to be resurrected
and to be with him
2. The start of salvation of national Israel
(Romans 11 says 'all Israel shall be saved' ) - a process begins.
3. Overthrow of the antichrist
system (2 Thessalonians 2)
4. The judgment
of the gentile nations.
5. To establish God's millennial kin
gdom on earth (Isaiah 24 and Revelation 20)
There is an important sequence:
1. 'You don't know what hour your Lord will come' (Matthew 24)
2. 'We shall all be changed, the trumpet will sound and we shall be raised incorruptible' (1Corinthians 15)
3. 'The dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are alive shall be caught up with them to meet Jesus in the air' (1Thessalonians 4)
4. They will all immediately return with Christ to rule and reign with him (Revelation 20:4)
Then comes the End
Then comes the end, after the millennium - Jesus offers up his kingdom to God and voluntarily places himself in subjection to his father's rule and authority. (1 Corinthians 15:23-26
). Revelation 20 says that 'blessed and holy are those who are part of the first resurrection, who reign with Christ a thousand years'. It goes on to say that Satan will be released from his prison for a time to deceive the nations, and will then be cast into the lake of fire. Then the dead (those who were not part of the first resurrection) will stand before God and be judged according to their works by the things written in the Book of Life (the second resurrection).
describes a new heaven and a new earth where the sound of weeping will no longer be heard - 'they shall no longer hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain'.
But there is a decision for all men and women to make NOW, and then for action to follow that decision. 'The Spirit and the bride say come! And let him who hears say come! And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely' (Revelation 22
And finally Philippians 3
again: 'that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death. If by any means, I may attain to the resurrection of the (righteous) dead.'
A PRAYER FOR EVERYONE.