Death, Judgement & Resurrection
To understand the 2nd coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, we first need to understand what happens when you die.
The bible teaches:
"For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward and even their name is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:5
"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:3-4
In the story of Jesus raising Lazurus from the dead, he refers to his death as a ‘sleep’.
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” John 11:11-14
In verse 23 Jesus comforts Lazurus’s sister with the words ‘Your brother will rise again!’.
What was Martha’s understanding at that point?
Verse 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
So clearly the bible understanding of the dead is that they are asleep (resting in peace you might say) and awaiting the resurrection on the last day, ie the 2nd coming of Christ.
So that brings us to the 2nd coming of Christ which Jesus speaks of many times.
In John 14 we read:
2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
In John 6, Jesus repeats:
39 "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."
For Jesus to repeat the words “at the last day” 4 times in one passage, don’t you think He might be trying to get a message across?
John 5 tells us:
28 "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
NOTE: the Bible speaks of 2 resurrections a number of times,
including Acts 24:15 and Revelation 20:5-6
NOTE 2: In Matthew 24:36-37 Jesus tells us that ONLY the Father knows the time of Jesus’s return.
So Jesus paints us a picture of his 2nd coming and His raising of the dead. With this in mind, read the comforting words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
It’s at this point and this point only that we, mortal beings, become immortal, as we read in
1 Corinthians 15:52-53
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
The Bible tells us that ONLY the Father hath immortality (1 Tim 6:15-16). Yet if we are saying that as soon we die we go to heaven or hell, then we also have immortality, through our soul or spirit. That clearly is wrong.
So we have death, then the resurrection at that last day (the 2nd coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ). So what about judgement?
John 12:48 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
Matthew 12:36 "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:"
Luke 14:14 “..and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Rev 22:12 12 "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
So it seems that judgement and reward is given at that last day, when, as Matthew 25 puts it in the above text, “..when the Son of Man shall come in His glory, he shall separate them one from another.”
Does this sound like something that happens at death?
How is it that ONLY The Father hath immortality?
If we do go to heaven when we die, what is the point of the resurrection?
If there are in people in hell right now, what sort of picture does that paint of a loving God?
I pray that you will all study these subjects for yourselves.