This doctrine is one of the elementary doctrines of Christ (Hebrew 6:1-2).
Christ is not only a person but a corporate new man consisting of a head (Lord Jesus ) and the body (glorious church ). Christ is also a revelation, a doctrine that must be learnt.
But ye have not so learned Christ.
As a believer, you ought to grow by studying and practicing the lessons of the doctrine of Christ. Hence it’s basically like a school.
So we see here in the book of Hebrews, the display of the foundational course outline (curriculum) of Christ.
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites (baptisms), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
Hebrews 6:1-2 NIV
We see here that this outline of 6 doctrines in all is the elementary stage. This would refer to the outline for the kids or beginners so to say. Then we move on to matured ones. And one of these elementary teachings is the doctrine : The Resurrection of The Dead.
Now with this topic, the first thing we can notice is this:
The resurrection is for the DEAD and not the living
Only the dead are resurrected. Jesus died and became our first fruit of this experience. The rest like Lazarus were just resuscitated because they were still mortal and eventually died again. But this resurrection being spoken of is unto life .
Those who are alive during that era will be transformed but the dead have to be resurrected / roused to life.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep(die), but we shall all be changed.
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. (KJV)
The dead are raised/roused (thus resurrected ) incorruptible and the living are just changed instantly to incorruptible.
Why incorruptible? What has this to do with us ?
Let’s read on:
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (KJV)
The resurrection is to transform us from mortal to immortal. This is what is meant by incorruptible.
Gleaning from the information given above; one thing can be deducted.
The main focus of Resurrection is the Body.
Not the soul or spirit.
The mortal and corruptible bodies being changed to incorruptible/immortal bodies.
So far we have been living in a body of limitations. Flesh and blood. A body that ages. A body that is constantly decaying until it eventually dies. Though we are saved our body is still under the consequence of Adam’s sin.
For in Genesis, Adam was told that if He ate of the tree of good and evil, he shall surely die. That is the rendering of many bible translations. An incorrect translation from Hebrew to English, I would suggest.
We all know that Adam didn’t die immediately. The YLT Version of the Bible puts it better this way:
And of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it—dying thou dost die.’
This is what was intended in the Hebrew rendering: When you eat of it, from that time onwards you shall continue to die till you die eventually.
Hence Adam entered the process of death right until his time was up and he eventually died. This is what we call mortality. Our bodies were changed to mortal bodies-susceptible to death. We were born to die eventually. From the moment one is born, the person begins to die. As we age we get closer to our deaths.
This didn’t change when we came believers did it? We still die. Our spirit was saved, soul enters its transformational stage of salvation by the word of God but the body remains mortal though the Holy Spirit supplies us with a higher quality of life than the other humans. This can be seen in the Epistle of Romans:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Our bodies are quickened or vivified. They are supplied with a higher quality of life than the unbelievers by the Holy Spirit but our bodies are still mortal.
Another verse proves this:
For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Paul mentioned that the LIFE of Jesus will manifest in their mortal flesh or body.
So far our bodies are yet to be saved and this is what the resurrection of the dead comes to lead us into; “for those who are dead during that time.” For those alive, their bodies will immediately be changed to immortal bodies.
This is our major cry to God – the salvation/ redemption of our bodies:
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 NIV
Now the house or tent or tabernacle is signifies our bodies. And he is saying that if the earthly tent that we live in is destroyed – through death; then we have a heavenly house that we will be clothed with thus a heavenly/immortal body built by God for us.
Look at the best part.
This was Paul’s wish that while he is still in his earthy tent or body he groaned that he will be changed from mortal to immortal.
That he will receive this body without getting to die (unclothed – dead body returning to dust ) and be resurrected so that his mortality will be instantly swallowed up by life.
This is what resurrection leads to- the salvation (bible calls it redemption ) or the glorious changing of our mortal bodies to immortal or incorruptible bodies.
As shown here again :
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
We groan within ourselves waiting for the Adoption and what is that? The Redemption of Our Bodies !!!
That is why that topic was a key elementary doctrine. Every believer is to aim for this kind of redemption.
This is the completion stage of the redemptive process of Christ. Remember that He is putting all things under His feet and the LAST enemy to bow will be DEATH (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Once death is defeated through immortality, the redemptive process is complete.
We are to yearn and groan within ourselves that we receive this body. If we are alive, like Paul so wished, it will be given to us immediately but if we are dead by that time we will be resurrected to life first and then given a new immortal body.
We must ask ourselves these questions:
- Why new bodies?
- Why don’t we just go to Heaven as spirits?
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
When we die our bodies go back to the earth and our spirits to God.
- So why give us new bodies when our spirits have returned to Him?
- Doesn’t incorruptible or immortal bodies mean that the body can’t be killed?
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
As shown here, this incorruptible body victorious over death.
Death, is defeated by immortality.
- Then what is this about being raptured to Heaven to flee from a terrible tribulation. What will be the use of this new body which cannot die in the first place?
Meditate on these things as we delve much deeper into this topic