Sabbath, March 12, 2016
“ ‘The hour is coming,’ Christ said, ‘in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.’ That voice is to resound through all the habitations of the dead; and every saint who sleeps in Jesus will awake and leave his prisonhouse. Then the virtue of character we received from Christ’s righteousness will ally us to true greatness of the highest order.
“The victory of the sleeping saints will be glorious on the morning of the resurrection…. The Life-giver will crown with immortality all who come forth from the grave.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 359.
A shining ray of hope
1. In the past, what did God’s children see concerning death–a dark cloud or rays of light? What hope sustained the patriarch Job in the middle of severe trials?
Psalms 16:10; 49:15 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption…. 49:15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
“To God’s pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in ‘the region and shadow of death,’ a precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is ‘the resurrection and the life,’ to ‘bring home again His banished.’ The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures…. Holy men of old looked forward to the advent of the Messiah in glory, as the consummation of their hope…. The patriarch Job in the night of his affliction exclaimed with unshaken trust: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: … in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.’ Job 19:25-27.” –The Great Controversy, p. 299.
2. What amazing picture of the miracle of resurrection did the Lord give to the prophet Ezekiel? What other prophecy given around the same time confirms this view?
Ezekiel 37:1-5 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. 4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
“At one time the prophet Ezekiel was in vision set down in the midst of a large valley. Before him lay a dismal scene. Throughout its whole extent the valley was covered with the bones of the dead. The question was asked, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ The prophet replied, ‘O Lord God, Thou knowest.’ What could the might and power of man accomplish with these dead bones? The prophet could see no hope of life being imparted to them. But as he looked, the power of God began to work. The scattered bones were shaken, and began to come together, ‘bone to his bone,’ and were bound together by sinews. They were covered with flesh, and as the Lord breathed upon the bodies thus formed, ‘the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.’ ” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1165.
Resurrection possible because of Jesus
3. How did Jesus confirm the absolute surety of the resurrection? What provides the assurance of one’s being resurrected from death to life?
John 6:39; 11:25 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…. 11:25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
“Christ claims all those as His who have believed in His name. The vitalizing power of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in the mortal body binds every believing soul to Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Jesus are sacred to His heart; for their life is hid with Christ in God. The command will come from the Life-giver, ‘Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.’ Isaiah 26:19.
“The Life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 271.
Arguments in favor of the resurrection
4. What important facts did the apostle Paul present to some people who had doubts about the resurrection? What did he say about those whose hope in God is confined to the present life?
1 Corinthians 15:16-23 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
“And said Paul: ‘If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.’ I Corinthians 15:16-18. If for four thousand years the righteous had gone directly to heaven at death, how could Paul have said that if there is no resurrection, ‘they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished’? No resurrection would be necessary.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 546, 547.
“With convincing power the apostle set forth the great truth of the resurrection….
“The apostle carried the minds of the Corinthian brethren forward to the triumphs of the resurrection morn, when all the sleeping saints are to be raised, henceforth to live forever with their Lord.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 320.
The first resurrection
5. When will the resurrection take place? According to the clear teaching of the Scriptures, who will be resurrected and rise to meet Jesus first?
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For 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. 16For 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: 17Then 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. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
“Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: ‘Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!’ Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ 1 Corinthians 15:55. And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.” –The Great Controversy, p. 644.
Incorruptible and immortal
6. What will the resurrected body of the saints be like? What great changes will be part of the resurrection?
1 Corinthians 15:52, first part-54 … For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So 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.
“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1093.
The second resurrection
7. When will the second resurrection–the resurrection of the unjust–take place? In only what resurrection will those who receive life and blessing rise?
Revelation 20:5, first part, 6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
“At the close of the thousand years the second resurrection will take place. Then the wicked will be raised from the dead and appear before God for the execution of ‘the judgment written.’ Thus the revelator, after describing the resurrection of the righteous, says: ‘The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.’ Revelation 20:5. And Isaiah declares, concerning the wicked: ‘They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.’ Isaiah 24:22.” –The Great Controversy, p. 661.
For additional study
“The Life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 359.
“He that used the two talents entrusted in this life, will, in the future life, show that his talents have not been corrupted. They will be used on a wider and nobler plan in the future life. There is appointed to every man his certain work. Those who are partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions which are in the world through lust, will reveal a purified life in this time of preparation for the higher life. The commence to live the life of the heavenly order here below, and carry the divine nature with them into every line of work. No swindlers have a place in the heavenly courts. No falsifiers, no liars, no adulterers, no cruel-minded persons will be there. They will never see His face.” –The Upward Look, p. 97