The following articles look not so much at the process of resurrection and judgment, but at the impact that a firm belief in the resurrection has had and can have in the lives of Yahweh’s people. The articles demonstrate that God’s promises rely for their fulfilment on the resurrection. The witness of the apostles started on the premise that Jesus is both Lord and Christ by his resurrection from the grave and his ascension to Heaven. The atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ was confirmed by the Lord being raised again for our justification. The final article shows the transforming effect of the resurrection on our life “in Christ”. These articles have been written at a time when the brotherhood was deeply concerned at the suffering of many in the Bible mission field. Our minds have been lifted to fervently long for the “day of resurrection” and to believe it as an object of hope and enduring consolation.

The characters in the honour roll of faith all fixed their gaze on resurrection to life. Their hope was a life-shaping anticipation. Many early Bible characters actually lived out the principles of resurrection in their experiences. How they longed for their vile bodies to be changed for eternity.

Anticipators of the “Better Resurrection”

What confidence in crisis was given to Job by his profound conviction that “I know that my redeemer liveth, 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; my reins within me are consumed with earnest desire for that day” (Job 19:25–27mrg). Joseph was lifted up out of the waterless pit to ultimately be elevated to become Zaphnath-paaneah, the Saviour of the World. He wanted his own bones to be buried in the land of promise so that when he would awake his eyes would behold the land promised to Abraham and his seed. No pyramid sepulchre in Egypt for him! Moses refused to (temporarily) secure his life in Egypt but chose to fix his gaze on the coming reward, the better resurrection (Heb 11:26). Jonah, the man of sign, surely pondered the prophetic meaning of his own near-death and resurrection experience. His deliverance from the ocean did not come, however, without a crying in his affliction for rescue from the belly of Sheol. So, though ultimately dying in faith, the faithful could not exclude anguished pleas for deliverance from their lips.

Jeremiah bought title-deeds to a field in the neighbourhood of a besieged Jerusalem in the firm belief that one day he would receive that portion of the land for an everlasting inheritance (Jer 32). Is not Jeremiah’s evidence in an earthen vessel yet underground, a potent witness to this faithful man’s absolute conviction in resurrection? And what of Daniel’s vision of the Man of the One? He experienced a typical death and step-wise resurrection to immortality (Daniel 10). He was explicitly promised that his death, a mere rest, would terminate in his standing at the end of days to receive his allotted inheritance (Dan 12:13). What a huge comfort for this one who had given his all to God Almighty. The concluding words of Daniel’s prophecy have also energised the wise of succeeding ages in their hope of awakening to everlasting life. All these were urged on in life because they saw a resurrected company of sons led to glory by the captain of their salvation.

The great promises to the fathers all depended for their fulfilment on the resurrection from the dead, of both Jesus the Seed and the fathers themselves. To the worthies of old death was therefore but a sleep, a temporary unconsciousness not to be feared, a necessary prelude to resurrection.

Resurrection to Life First Promised in Eden

Adam clearly understood the significance of the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent and in so doing receive only a temporary wound in the heel. This is indicated by the fact that immediately after the pronouncement of the sentence, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”, it is recorded that “Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living”. What enormous hope! However, he would have also understood that apart from resurrection there could be no hope of living, no confidence at all, because of death now witnessed for the first time in front of the first pair, in the shedding of blood. Yahweh alone could provide the deathprotecting covering (Gen 3:21). Adam and Eve needed faith to look forward to the perfect sacrifice seen in the seed of the woman, the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. God saw fit to guard and preserve this way of understanding which led to the Tree of Life, so that fallen man could regain life after his now inevitable death.

The Abrahamic Promise Built on the Resurrection

Years later Abraham had his faith tested to believe that not only would he have an heir but that the land would be given to him and his seed for ever. Several lines of evidence remove any doubt that Abraham’s faith was centred in the resurrection of his seed and of himself by that seed.

  • How apart from resurrection could Abraham receive for ever the land in which he recognised himself as a stranger, who had received by God not even a foot of the ground of his inheritance (Acts 7:5)? But God promised him that he (and his descendants) would inherit the land!
  • In Genesis 22:13,14, the replacement of Isaac, the beloved one and child of promise, with the ram to slay on Mount Moriah was understood as a parabolic resurrection to life of the promised seed— Abraham gladly received his only begotten son from the dead in a parable (Hebrews 11:17–19). Slain was His son instead of your son. Abraham had looked down the corridors of time to visualise the day of victory over sin; he had rejoiced in anticipation—“Abraham ardently desired [Diag] to see my day”, said Jesus (John 8:56). And Jesus continued to say that when Abraham had clearly perceived the type of the future literal resurrection of the seed, “he saw it (Christ’s day of victory) and was glad” (John 8:56). His glad receiving of Isaac in a figure (Heb 11:19) was matched only by his gladness at visualising the victorious resurrection to life of the greater than Isaac. Indeed Yahweh has provided the offering for sin, and this has provided the saints of all ages with a sense of relief, confidence and happiness at the thought of seeing the day of resurrection in Christ—with gladness. Because Abraham saw this, he named the place of the offering Yahweh-Yireh, or He who shall be will provide, being convicted that “In the mount Yahweh shall be seen” (Gen 22:14; Heb 11:13; Eureka vol 1, p279).
  • The subsequent, sure promise of Genesis 22:17 confirmed the central role of resurrection in the fulfilment of the promises, “thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies”. Death itself, the last of these enemies to be destroyed, would be ultimately conquered by resurrection (1 Cor 15:26). Years later the greater seed foreshadowed by Isaac said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev 1:18).

The Davidic Covenant Promises Resurrection to Life

God sealed promises to David with an oath that He would “stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever… thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee (= in thy presence–2 Sam 7:13,16)”. These words and this vision revealed by Nathan were David’s guarantee of resurrection, for how else could he witness the kingdom of which there should be no end (Luke 1:33)? Moreover he was told that the promise would be realised “when thy days be fulfilled” and after he had “slept with his fathers” (2 Sam 7:12)! David’s reaction to the promise with its implication of his own resurrection was exemplary. Humbled that Yahweh had seen him as a type of the man He would raise up he confessed, “Who am I, O Yahweh God…?” (1 Chron 17:16,17). The faithful of all ages died with this humility of hope.

Isaiah promised to all who hear and come to God the gift of an everlasting covenant, the “sure mercies” promised to David (ch 55:1–4). These sure mercies are the raising to life, never to decay, first experienced by the Son (Acts 13:34) and soon to be experienced by David and his spiritual asso ciates. That David entered into the feelings of the Messiah as he contemplated resurrection is certain from Peter’s speech (Acts 2:25–31). Because of the prospect of resurrection his heart was cheered—his tongue told its delight—and he pondered the time when God would make him full of joy in His very presence. So convicted was Messiah that his body would not be abandoned in the ground, that he described his own death as a rest in hope.

For his many sons, David has provided other inspirational comments on resurrection: “Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth” (Psalm 71:20). Because of the Almighty’s power to reconstitute from dust, the saints of many ages have reflected with David, “O God, who is like unto thee!” (v19) No doubt David fully appreciated that his own resurrection was totally dependent on the resurrection of his seed to become the firstborn of the new creation (Psalm 89:27), “who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead” (Col 1:18).

The Name Fulfilled in Resurrection to Everlasting Life

The fathers understood that it was through resurrection, and resurrection alone, that both the Seed and they themselves could be incorporated into the Yahweh name (Luke 20:37–38). In fact the Yahweh Elohim will not be developed outside of the operation of resurrection. Those who have fallen asleep in the Seed of Abraham have not perished, because that greatest of all miracles has ensured the raising to life and redemption of a multitude as numerous as the stars in the heavens. In degree they have all understood that “perfection of character and substance… is the consummation predetermined by the Deity in his manifestation by spirit in Jesus and his brethren” (Eureka vol 1, p107).

The victory of the glorified seed of the woman has meant the eventual release of all “Thy dead men” from the shackles of death. Let us stand and confess with the Apostle Paul that we worship the God of our (spiritual) forefathers, having a hope directed towards God that before long there will be a resurrection from the dead to glorious immortality. This was the patriarchal promise which all those who have served and do serve God with intense devotedness earnestly have hoped and do hope to have made good to themselves (Acts 24:15; 26:6–8).