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A Theology of Restoration Vs. Annihilation Part 2

A Theology of Restoration Vs. Annihilation Part 2

Biblical Worldview Course – 3b

 

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This session will begin to present the Biblical view of creation’s future restoration as the primary thrust behind the theology and doctrine of the Scripture. This will be contrasted with the Hellenistic view which demands it’s ultimate annihilation.

 

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A THEOLOGY OF RESTORATION VS. ANNIHILATION

DEVELOPING A THEOLOGY OF RESTORATION

DEVELOPING A THEOLOGY OF RESTORATION

A.    Before we begin to look at the Biblical doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, we must develop a theology of restoration and renewal. Without a theology which regards the heavens and the earth as God’s beloved creation which He will restore on the Day of the Lord, the Scripture is forever destined to be viewed within the fog of modernity’s haphazard hermeneutic.

B.    Much confusion has come in the absence of a simple understanding of God’s love for His creation. When understood rightly, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, is simply a myopic reiteration of what is reinforced throughout the Scriptures. Namely, if God loves His creation and if He is faithful, then He will restore it and not destroy it.

C.   Essential to us understanding true Biblical theology is the understanding of God’s heart and original intent for creation. God created this earth to be His own dwelling place with man.

8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. (Gen 2:8 NASB)

8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day … (Gen 3:8 NASB)

D.   While this purpose for creation has been interrupted it has not been discarded by the Creator. Throughout the Scripture the intent of God is continual—God’s desire for man is always that man would be on the earth with Him.

8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8 NKJV)

11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. (Leviticus 26:11-12 NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14 NIV)

E.    Ultimately, the Lord’s plan to dwell on the earth with man will be fulfilled.

26 I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Ezekiel 37:26-27 NIV)

10 Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you, declares the LORD. (Zechariah 2:10 NIV)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them , (Rev 21:3 NASB)

F.    The way that we view God’s heart in the beginning, and the way that we interpret it at the end determines the trust with which we give our hearts and our lives to Him. In any normal relationship past information about a person’s character, present consistency in walking out this character, and future assurance of faithfulness to this character are essential to determine how trustworthy the person is.

G.   Likewise, we can give lip service of devotion to God, but unless we understand the depths of His faithfulness and proven loyalty to His creation, we always lack the courage to trust Him with our lives when things are difficult unless we are backed into a corner. Thus, a theology of restoration relies wholly on a theology of God’s faithful character.

H.   The original earth was completely suitable for God’s original intent to dwell on the earth with man. (cf. Gen. 3:8) Following the creation of the heavens and the earth God’s evaluation was that it was “very good”. I.e. it was perfectly suitable to that for which it was intended.

I.      This is why there is no need to destroy this present earth or the heavens. Instead God’s original intent for THIS creation will be fulfilled.

9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; (Isa 46:9-10 NASB)

A THEOLOGY OF GOD'S STEADFAST LOVE

A THEOLOGY OF GOD’S STEADFAST LOVE

A.    Throughout the Scriptures the anchor to which all of the promises are tied is to God’s nature which is essentially and wholly faithful. Based on this foundational revelation to the Adam and creation, and then to the patriarchs after them, God establishes His covenant with them.

19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you”… 5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. 6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness (Heb. ‘chesed’) and truth (Heb. ‘emeth’); (Exd 33:19, 34:5-6 NASB)

  • 2876 חֶסֶד (ḥě∙sěḏ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 2617; TWOT 698a—1. LN 25.33–25.58 loyal love, unfailing kindness, devotion, i.e., a love or affection that is steadfast based on a prior relationship[1]

“The word is used only in cases where there is some recognized tie between the parties concerned. It is not used indiscriminately of kindness in general, haphazard, kindly deeds; this is why Coverdale was careful to avoid using the word ‘kindness’ in respect of God’s dealings with his people Israel. The theological importance of the word chesed is that it stands more than any other word for the attitude which both parties to a covenant ought to maintain towards each other. Sir George Adam Smith suggested the rendering ‘leal-love.’ The merit of this translation is that it combines the twin ideas of love and loyalty, both of which are essential… God’s loving-kindness is that sure love which will not let Israel go. Not all Israel’s persistent waywardness could ever destroy it. Though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still. This steady, persistent refusal of God to wash his hands of wayward Israel is the essential meaning of the Hebrew word which is translated loving-kindness.”[2]

  • 622 אֱמֶת (ʾěměṯ): n.fem.; ≡ Str 571; TWOT 116k—1. LN 31.82–31.101 faithfulness, reliability, trustworthiness, i.e., a state or condition of being dependable and loyal to a person or standard [3]

B.    It is upon this foundation and self-revelation that God enters into covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. God is the God of creation, and He will lovingly restore the creation which He loves. He is faithful, and He will never abandon His creation.

C.   Having expressed His loving intent at the beginning, He promises also how it will conclude. Just as everything was ‘very good’ in the beginning, so it will be in the end. Genesis 1-3 then becomes the blueprint for all eschatological interpretation.

9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; (Isa 46:9-10 NASB)

D.   This is why there was virtual unanimity of eschatological expectation within the first two hundred years of church history. Prior to 3rd century, Gnostic perspectives were swiftly condemned because they were understood as an affront to the Gospel and as dishonoring to the Lord’s character.

E.    The synthesis of Gnostic belief with Biblical theology became the seedbed for various eschatological beliefs, all of which stand as an accusation against God’s faithfulness to His creation in varying degrees. (See Eschatological Chart—In relation to God’s Faithfulness)

F.    However, God’s purpose for creation seen in Genesis 1-3 will stand. Just as the bodies of the righteous will be raised, so creation will be resurrection from it’s bondage to decay. Just as our bodies will be changed, so this earth will be cleansed like it was in the flood.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (i.ethe same ‘freedom’ that we receive from our slavery to decay). 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption (not annihilation) of our body. (Rom 8:20-23 NASB)

5 … by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire (i.e cleansed like it was in the flood), kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (i.e cleansing the face of the earth of all wickedness). (2Pe 3:5-7 NASB)

G.   Just as the Holy Spirit will raise up the bodies of the saints in the resurrections by the Word of Jesus, so the Spirit’s power will renew this earth.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (Jhn 5:25 NASB)

63 “It is the Spirit who gives life (i.e. the resurrection)… (Jhn 6:63 NASB)

5 “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath (lit. ‘spirit’) to enter you that you may come to life. … 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (lit. congregation). … 12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves… 14 “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life… (Eze 37:5, 10, 12, 14 NASB)

30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (Psa 104:30 NIV)

H.   Thus, the ‘passing away’ of the ‘old man’ will be comparable to the ‘passing away’ of the ‘old earth’.

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away (Gr. parerchomai); behold, new things have come. (2Cr 5:17 NASB)

  • 3928 παρέρχομαι parĕrchŏmai, par-er´-khom-ahee; from 3844 and 2064; to come near or aside, i.e. to approach (arrive), go by (or away), (fig.) perish or neglect, (caus.) avert:—come (forth), go, pass (away, by, over), past, transgress.[4]

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away (Gr. parerchomai), and there is no longer any sea. (Rev 21:1 NASB)

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men… 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear (Gk. parerchomai, “pass away” KJV/NKJV/NASB/ESV/NRSV/NLT) with a roar; the elements (Gk. stoicheion) will be destroyed (Gk. luo “loosed”) by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare (Gk. heurisko; “exposed” ESV, “disclosed”, NRSV— MT Gk. katakaio; “burned up” KJV/NKJV/NASB). 11 Since everything will be destroyed (Gk. luo “loosed”) in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? … 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:3-13 NIV)

I.      Another significant point is that God’s covenants have all been made in the context of the promise of the eternal existence of the earth. The word ‘erets’ in Hebrew can either be translated ‘earth’ or ‘land’ depending on the context. The seldom emphasized, but painfully obvious, implication of this is that it is a reference to this earth. Thus, God’s faithfulness to His promises hinges on His preservation this earth forever.

14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever… 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)

7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you (also implying the eternal existence of Abraham on the earth) and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:7-8 NIV)

3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and will increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.'” (Genesis 48:3-4 NIV)


[1] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Norman H. Snaith, Theological Word Book of the Bible, ed. by Alan Richardson (New York: MacMillan, 1951), 136-7.

[3] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Strong, J., S.T.D., LL.D. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

THE NOTES FOR THIS SESSION BEGIN HERE

COMMON HOPE

COMMON HOPE

A.    Having briefly touched on the theology which requires creation’s restoration, we are now going to look at the resurrection of the dead—the restoration of the chief of God’s creation. The restoration of all things under the Messiah was the context within which the Gospel was preached by the Apostles, and thus the resurrection of the dead was an elementary teaching of the early church.

1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. (Hbr 6:1-2 NASB)

19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. (1Cr 15:19-20 NASB)

19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Act 3:19-21 NASB)

B.    The hope in the resurrection and the restoration of all things was the central hope of the early church. Gnosticism was introduced into the early church in various regions, but was always resisted by the apostles and those true to the Biblical faith.

16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. (2Ti 2:16-18 NASB)

14 “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (Act 24:14-15 NASB)

6 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. … 15 ‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Rev 2:6, 15 NASB)

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pe 1:13 NASB)

“The early Christians hold firmly to a two-step belief about the future: first, death and whatever lies immediately beyond; second, a new bodily existence in a newly remade world… within early Christianity there is virtually no spectrum of belief about life beyond death… whereas the early Christians were drawn from many strands of Judaism and from widely differing backgrounds within paganism, and hence from circles that must have held very different beliefs about life beyond death, they all modified that belief to focus on one point on the spectrum… We have plenty of evidence of debates about all sorts of things, and the virtual unanimity on resurrection stands out. Only in the late second century, a good 150 years after the time of Jesus, do we find people using the word resurrection to mean something quite different from what is meant in Judaism and early Christianity, namely, a spiritual experience in the present leading to a disembodied hope in the future. For almost all of the first two centuries, resurrection in the traditional sense holds not just center stage but the whole stage.”[1]

C.   The primary perversion of Gnosticism was the reinterpretation of the resurrection. Rather than a physical bodily resurrection upon this earth, and thus God being faithful to His creation, we have the introduction of an immaterial resurrection in which Jesus is presented as the “way to heaven.”

“Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, godless, and foolish… For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines delivered by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this truth, and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians… But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.”[2]


[1] N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 41-42.

[2] Justin Martyr (103-165), Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 80

SURVEY OF BIBLICAL HOPE IN THE RESURRECTION

SURVEY OF BIBLICAL HOPE IN THE RESURRECTION

A.    The hope of the resurrection was first presented in Genesis and then simply echoed by the prophets and apostles. The reason that the hope of the resurrection was common and unanimous within the early church was because they rightly viewed Biblical faith in the Messiah as the assurance that God will restore all things.

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:27-28 NASB)

17 … Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. … 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:17, 19 NASB)

B.    The ‘blessing’ upon creation was simply the grace to function within the ‘good’ design of God’s perfect creation. The curse of death upon the human body and within creation was the reversal of the blessing which they enjoyed from the beginning.

17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die (lit. ‘dying, you will die’).” (Gen 2:17 NASB)

C.   Within this context the Lord visited Abraham and promised him that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be ‘blessed’ again. In other words, Abraham is promised that it would be his family which would usher the nations of the earth back into the grace of functioning within the original design of God’s perfect creation, i.e. perfect fellowship with God without death.[1]

3 … in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”—(Gen 12:3 NASB)

18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gen 22:18 NASB)

D.   This hope that the natural seed of Abraham would usher in the resurrection was later picked up by the prophets, and often referenced in the New Testament. The prophets made clear that Israel had rebelled against the Lord, but that one day she would return and usher the righteous of the nations back into the blessedness of the garden.

1 “Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. 2 “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. 3 “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth (on the day of the Lord) is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hsa 6:1-3 NASB)

E.    This hope was common to the apostles and taught in the early church as normative. The blessing of Abraham was understood to be speaking of the restoration of all things.

19 “Therefore repent and return (i.e. Israel, the descendants of Abraham), so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Act 3:19-21 NASB)

34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. (cf. Is. 55:3)’ (Act 13:34 ESV)

12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be (rhetorical)! 13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (i.e. the resurrection)? (Rom 11:12-15 NASB)

8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith (thereby including them in the resurrection), preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. … 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit (who will raise up our bodies. Cf. Ez. 37) through faith. (Gal 3:8-9, 14 NASB)

3 ” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. (Mat 5:3-11 NASB)

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life (as in the beginning), and may enter by the gates into the city. (Rev 22:12-14 NASB)[1]

F.    The Psalms and prophetic books are simply a continuation of this hope. When taken at face value it becomes clear that they were really only speaking about one thing. The resurrection—like in the early church (cf. footnote 5)—did not have only center stage, but the whole stage.[2]

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like (in the resurrection) a tree firmly planted by streams of water, … 4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. (on the day of the Lord) 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous (in the kingdom of the Messiah). 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish. (Psa 1:1-6 NASB)

21 So it will happen in that day, That the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders…6 The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain… 7 And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering (i.e the curse) which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces (cf. Rev. 21), And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. 9 And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” (Isa 24:21-23, 25:6-9 NASB)

18 We were pregnant (i.e. Israel, those called to bless the nations), we writhed in labor, We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, Nor were inhabitants of the world born. 19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. (Isa 26:18-19 NASB)

3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 7 The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. 8 A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. … 10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isa 35:3-10 NASB)

3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know. (cf. Eze. 1-36)” … 5 “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. … 7 … there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. … 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ 12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; … 13 “Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life…” (Eze 37:3, 5, 7-8, 10-14 NASB)

2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground (cf. Gen 3:19) will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 3 ” Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Dan 12:2-3 NASB)

G.   The New Covenant is not a redefinition of the hope of the resurrection. Paul and the other apostles had the exact same hope as the Abraham, David, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. All of the apostles were likewise unanimous in their affirmation of the hope in the resurrection.

8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” (Gal 3:8 NASB)

19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. … 24 “And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. (Act 3:19-21, 24 NASB)

14 “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (Act 24:14-15 NASB)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1Pe 1:3-7 NASB)

20 For our citizenship is in heaven (i.e. with the Messiah), from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Phl 3:20-21 NASB)

8 …that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (Rom 10:8-9 NASB)

52 … at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory(cf. Is. 25:8). (1Cr 15:52-54 NASB)

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus… 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1Th 4:14, 16-18 NASB)

H.   The hope of the apostles was ‘more sure’ than the prophets since they actually saw Jesus in a resurrected body. The requirement for apostleship was to have interacted with Jesus after His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus was understood as the assurance of their own resurrection, and thus the anchor of their faith and hope.

22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” (Act 1:22 NASB)

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—(cf. Matt. 17 ‘mount of transfiguration’) 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. (2Pe 1:16-19 NASB)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1Pe 1:3 NASB)

22… I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen– 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Act 26:22-23 NIV)

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. … 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, (1Cr 15:20, 23 NASB)

5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood– (Rev 1:5 NASB)


[1] In order to understand the way Abraham understood, we must understand the context within which he heard it. Abraham is commonly believed to have been born around year 1948 after creation. (This was probably only around 300 years after the dispersion of the nations at Babel. Cf. Gen. 11) This date puts Abraham alive for around 50 years with Noah. Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, was alive for 300 years with Adam. Although by Abraham’s time the human lifespan was significantly diminished, he was nonetheless only three persons removed from Adam. Adam and Eve, being the only ones who witnessed the original blessedness of creation were the ones who informed their own descendants of what had been lost, and consequently the coming restoration which had been promised in the coming seed. Abraham was by no means ignorant of the garden, or of the original blessedness of creation.

[2] “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!” (2 Macc. 7:14)

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE RESURRECTION

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE RESURRECTION

A.    The Holy Spirit was not a new idea to 1st century Judaism. There was a clear expectation that God would send His Spirit to resurrect the righteous in the age to come. Like during the initial creation, the Word of God would utter His voice, and the Spirit of God would bring forth a new creation.

2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God (i.e. the Word, cf. John 1) said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen 1:2-3 ESV)

28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (Jhn 5:28-29 NASB)

5 “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath (lit. ‘spirit’) to enter you that you may come to life. … 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (lit. congregation). … 12 “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves… 14 “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life… (Eze 37:5, 10, 12, 14 NASB)

B.    The Spirit is the one who raised Jesus from the dead as a down payment to the resurrection of the saints at the end of the age. The Spirit now dwells inside of us as a first fruits of the ministry of the Spirit at the second coming.

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. … 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. … 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. … 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom 8:11, 16-17, 23, 26-27 NASB)

13 … Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (i.e. the resurrection) until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. … 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead… (Eph 1:13-14, 18-20 NIV)

21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2Cr 1:21-22 NASB)

1 For we know that if the earthly tent (i.e. our current bodies) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal (i.e. that does not perish) in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (2Cr 5:1-5 NASB)

Bill Scofield Bill Scofield (52 Posts)

Bill is husband to Charis, and father to their 6 children. He is a Bible teacher, elder, and missions trainer.


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