It’s real . . . with sneak peeks throughout the Bible to prove it.
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READING TIME: 7 MINUTES.
Death. Is it a body decomposing into nothingness, trapped in a waiting-for-Godot moment—as Emily Dickinson portrays, rather derisively, in her “Alabaster Chambers” poem below? Or is it a future transition of the soul-body matrix into something far greater?
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—
Untouched by Morning
And untouched by Noon—
Lie the meek members of the Resurrection—
Rafter of Satin—and Roof of Stone!
—Emily Dickinson, original first stanza;
later published in her third version, posthumously, in 1890
You probably have your take on the resurrection matter. But opinions and poets aside . . . the real question is, what does God say? In His words, the Bible. After all, it’s His creation, His rules, His story. The gist of His resurrection event unfolds like this . . .
Death isn’t the end. It’s another beginning. The soul is eternal.
God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. —Exodus 3:6, approximately 1446 BCE.
What was God saying?
I am the God of your father—not I was.
Your father’s soul is with Me. His soul is not dead.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long past from this world,
and yet, their souls are alive.
I am their God.
But God doesn’t leave things suspended there, with the eternal soul separated from its earthly vessel (the body) . . . the design from the beginning was for us to enjoy an everlasting soul-body existence made holy unto Him.
That’s why an integral part of the what’s-ahead story is the soul-body reunion, coming at the end of days—called acharit ha-yamim in Hebrew, אחרית הימים—and orchestrated by the hand of God.
He’s been telling humanity about that for thousands of years—and He’s given ten sneak-peek accounts of it to make this seemingly preposterous resurrection notion understandable to us, recognizing it as a valid upcoming event.
THE 4-1-1 BRIEF
From scripture . . . some resurrection cues and actual resurrection accounts given to us over time.
1406 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Song of Moses about God’s might; Moses was the leader-deliverer of Israel from Egypt, God’s mouthpiece and humble prophet who spoke with God face to face.
See now that it is I!
I am the One, and there is no god like Me!
I cause death and make alive
[restore life back from the dead, per the Hebrew].
I strike, but I heal, and no one can rescue from My Hand!
1100 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Hannah. Mother of the prophet Samuel and a faithful servant of the Lord; she prophetically said this after a mighty move of God that made her longtime barren womb fertile:
There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
The Lord brings death and makes alive
[restores the dead to life, per the Hebrew];
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.
—1 Samuel 2:2,6,10
1044 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. David. King of Israel, prophet, psalmist, a man after God’s own heart. His Davidic throne will seat the Messiah.
You will not abandon my soul to the grave;
You shall not allow your pious one to see the pit.
1000 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Also ascribed to King David.
You have shown me great
and severe troubles again;
you shall revive me
[restore to life from the dead, per the Hebrew]
and from the depths of the earth
You will raise me up again.
863 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elijah (Eliyahu, in Hebrew). Renowned, zealous prophet of Israel; under God’s power, Elijah resurrected a widow’s child. 1 Kings 17:10-14.
849 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha. Elijah’s disciple who carried on the mantle of Elijah’s prophetic work; Elisha resurrected a Shunammite’s child. 2 Kings 4:20-37.
812 BCE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Elisha’s tomb. Well after Elisha died and his body placed in a burial cave, some men buried a dead man’s body in that cave—but when the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man was resurrected. 2 Kings 13:20-21.
753 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Hosea. A major prophet ministering in the Northern Kingdom of Israel; his life, a symbol in God’s hands demonstrating God’s unfathomable love for His unfaithful people.
He will revive us [restore the dead to life, per the Hebrew]
after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live in His sight.
725 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Isaiah. A mighty prophet and a surrendered vessel in God’s hands for Israel, Messianic prophecies, and end-times events.
Your dead will live;
Their corpses will rise.
You who lie in the dust [are dead], 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.
539 BCE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Daniel. A courageously faithful prophet and dream interpreter of the Lord during the Babylonian captivity; a vehicle for God’s voice regarding many end-times prophecies.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth [the dead]
shall awake to everlasting life
and others to everlasting reproach and abhorrence.
28 CE (approximate). Resurrection cue. Jesus (Yeshua, his Hebrew name). Renowned rabbi, prophet, and for those with ears to hear, Messiah.
For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come forth;
those who have done good will come to a resurrection of life,
those who have done evil will come to a resurrection of judgment.
28-33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek accounts: six of them. Witnessed by many. John 11:1-44; Mark 5: 21-43; Luke 7:11-16; Matthew 27:50-53; Acts 9:36-41; Acts 29:7-12.
33 CE (approximate). Resurrection sneak-peek account. Jesus (Yeshua).The most powerful and most unique resurrection event—even some Jewish scholars don’t deny it. Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-13.
THAT BEGS THE QUESTION
Since resurrection is a futuristic event, what is our life down here about? There’s much to that answer—some discussed in this series and elsewhere on this blog. But for now, as one rabbinic source puts it . . .
This world is like a lobby before the World to Come;
prepare yourself in the lobby
so that you may enter the banquet hall.
—Rabbi Yaakov, Pirkei Avot 4:21
(Ethics of our Fathers, ethical/moral Torah teachings
from the Mishnaic 2nd century CE period)
Keep this in mind: There are no do-overs. No reincarnation to try it again. God’s word is pretty straightforward about that. That’s why what you do down here in the “lobby” is critical. Are you living according to His word, His roadmap—or your imagined version of that?
HE SAID/THEY SAID
God has graciously given us ten sneak peeks in the Bible to demonstrate His resurrection power. They are real stories about real people who breathed their last, were mourned, and were either entombed or on their way to that tomb—then were resurrected to demonstrate God’s power, compassion, and future promise. Ten accounts—of Jews and Gentiles—given to nudge our faith toward the main event up ahead.
But despite that, there have been various voices going against His grain.
Exhibit A. For Messianic Jews and evangelical Christians, God’s word and resurrection are the bedrock of their belief system. Orthodox Judaism also adheres to the resurrection teaching. In fact, the resurrection of the dead has been so entrenched in Jewish/biblical doctrine that it became the thirteenth principle of faith, as defined by The Rambam—Moses ben Maimonides, a renowned, 12th-century rabbinic scholar and philosopher.
Yet other Jewish sects—Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction, Renewal, Humanistic—stray from that biblical core truth (and most others) to one degree or another.
Eh, so what’s new? Exactly. Through the millennia, things may change but somehow remain the same. During the Second Temple period—1st century CE—the two major sects of the day argued it out.
Their Judaic counterpart—the Sadducees—pooh-poohed the soul’s eternal existence, the resurrection, angels, and spirits. One account of the Pharisees-Sadduccees disagreements before the Sanhedrin is recorded in Acts 23:1-10.
The Sadducees even tried to corner Jesus (Yeshua) on the subject of resurrection—a trap because they didn’t believe in it. So they gave him an afterlife scenario and asked for his viewpoint. It went like this:
On that same day some Sadducees
(who say there is no resurrection)
came to Jesus and questioned him, asking,
“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children,
his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife,
and raise up children for his brother.’
“Now there were seven brothers with us;
and the first married and died,
and having no children left his wife to his brother;
so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh.
Last of all, the woman died.
In the resurrection, therefore,
whose wife of the seven will she be?
For they all had married her.”
But Jesus answered
and said to them,”You are mistaken,
not understanding the scriptures nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but are like angels in heaven.
But regarding the resurrection of the dead,
have you not read what was spoken to you by God?
I am the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
When the crowds heard this,
they were astonished at his teaching.
—Matthew 22: 23-33
RESURRECTION: SNEAK PEEKS
Explore each account via the links below. These resurrected people went on to live again . . . but eventually had to die again and now await the resurrection occurring at the end of days.
That is, all except one.
The life giver . . . and life changer.
There’s more coming up about that singularly unique resurrection story in this series. But now . . . those real-life resurrection accounts.
Resurrection series initially created between March 30, 2016 – July 3, 2016
CREDITS: Bible photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Gavel photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Roll the Drums photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash.com
McFarland, Philip (2004), Hawthorne in Concord, New York: Grove Press, p. 149, ISBN 0-8021-1776-7.
Royot, Daniel (2002), “Poe’s humor”, in Hayes, Kevin J, The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-521-79727-6.