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    D198 - Jesus rose from the dead in a physical body

    1 Cor 15:17; Acts 4:2

    It is the main theme of the New Testament – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You will read it in all four gospels. There was also Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and the one who doubted about the resurrection. Thomas said in John 20:25,

    ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.’

    So, eight days later, Jesus came into their locked doors and said to Thomas,

    ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’ (John 20:27).

    NB: Jesus had a physical body but how we will look is irrelevant. In 1 Cor 15:38, the Apostle Paul said, ‘God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.’

    1 Cor 15:17 rightly states that 

    ‘if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.’

    Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christians have nothing. It was disturbing news then (Acts 4:2). It is still a provoking statement today. 

    Many non-Christians had tried to prove that Jesus’ resurrection was fake news. For more information, please see D39 – Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.

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    D199 - Jesus became the first fruit to demonstrate that believers will rise again

    1 Cor 15:20-23

    Jesus’ resurrection showed that we, his disciples, will also be raised again. 1 Cor 15:23 promises that while Christ became the first fruit of resurrection, there will be another group that will resurrect ‘at his coming’.

    Finally, all of us will be changed in a

    ‘twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed’ (1 Cor 15:52).

    That is when death is ultimately destroyed by God.

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    D200 - In resurrection, believers do not marry

    Matt 22:29-32; Mark 12:25;

    Jesus answered the Sadducees with a direct response when he said,

    ‘For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven’ (Matt 22:30, Mark 12:25).

    What we will be like is still an unknown element as long as we are on this side of heaven.

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    D201 - Believers will live with Christ at the end of age

    John 11:25; John 14:19

    When we die, Jesus promised us that

    ‘whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live’ (John 11:25).

    Jesus also promised us that

    ‘because I live, you also will live’ (John 14:19), and

    ‘We will always be with the Lord’ (1 Thes 4:17).

    And it will be for eternity (Matt 25:46; John 17:3, John 3:16) where there is no more mourning, death and pain (Rev 21:4).

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    D202 - Believers who may be perceived to be first (on earth) may end up being last

    Mark 10:31; Luke 13:24-30; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14

    Jesus shared that there would be surprises at the end of times when ‘many who are first will be last, and the last first’ (Mark 10:31).

    Like an examination, when we finally finish life and be resurrected, some ‘results’ may shock us.

    In fact, some ‘Christians’ may not even make it to the Book of Life.

    In Luke 13:24-30, Jesus shared about a bunch of people who claimed that they

    ‘ate and drank in Your (Jesus’) presence’ but Jesus said, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 

    In the Old Testament, following the death of Saul by his own accord, a young Amalekite came across Saul’s body and seize Saul’s crown and arm band and brought them before David.

    He then proclaimed that it was he who killed the dying Saul. Instead of rewarding the Amalekite for his deeds in eliminating David’s perceived archenemy, 2 Sam 1:15-16 reads,

    ‘Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’”

    Our analysis of who will end up in heaven may not be the same as that from the Father. At the end of the age, there will be many surprises.

    Who will be exalted?

    Luke 18:14 speaks about a tax collector (a despised person) and a Pharisee (a religious elite). The tax collector stood at a distance and was too afraid to lift up his eyes to heaven, instead exclaiming, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ while the Pharisee declared in his prayers his ‘righteous deeds of fasting and paying tithes.’ Jesus commended the former instead of the Pharisee.

    Here is the hint – Those who humble themselves. 

    See also B234 – Seek for the knowledge of God’s will, and B236 – Labor for that which endures forever.

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    D203 - There appears to be stages in resurrection

    Matt 27:51-52; 1 Cor 15:20-23; Rev 20:12-15

    When we become Christians, we are, in effect, resurrected. John 5:25-26 says,

    ‘“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.”‘

    But there are stages in resurrection after we are no more on this earth. And these can be seen below:

    1. In Matt 27:51-52, following the resurrection of Jesus, ‘many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.’
      This was the first-fruit resurrection.
    2. The next stage of resurrection of his saints will arrive ‘at his (second) coming’ (1 Cor 15:23). It is seen in 1 Thes 4:16 when Paul said that

    ‘For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.’

    This is then followed by the rapture when ‘we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air’ (1 Thes 4:17).

    Among them are a group of disciples who will be coming back to life and to reign with Christ for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-5).

    Rev 20:5 calls it ‘the first resurrection’ where the ‘second death has no power over them’ (In other words, these Christians are assured of eternal life as priests of God).

    1. The final resurrection belongs in Rev 20:12-15 at the end of times when books are opened with one specified as the ‘book of life.’

    Rev 20:15 reads ‘if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’  

    Resurrection of the dead is linked closely to eternal judgment.

    Note: Thanks to the contribution by Melody Nunen regarding the part of ‘resurrection’ when we become Christians (12 June 2020).

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