RESURRECTION – THE HOPE OF OUR SALVATION
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
(1 John 1:2 NASB)
If our faith is anchored in this life only, we are most pitied among men. We have a future and a hope, for the Father promised a new creation in which righteousness dwells! Yet, this incorruptible, eternal inheritance cannot be inherited by corruptible bodies. The resurrection, so to speak, will be the grand finale of our salvation. Initially, we enter into salvation through the work of the cross, and we continue our salvation by being renewed and sanctified through the Holy Spirit’s liberating work of restoration, yet our salvation will only be complete on the day we receive our incorruptible, glorified bodies, (Heb 9:27-28).
Messiah’s resurrection is indeed “the beginning” of this future new creation (Is 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13), for He is the “first born from the dead,” and the promise that we will also inherit an eternal, glorified body, (Col 1:17-18). Thus Messiah is called the First Fruits of those who are asleep, for just as He rose from the dead on the third day, we shall all rise from the dead to receive eternal, incorruptible bodies at the appearance of His coming, (1 Cor 15:20-23). The promise of this future salvation, the salvation or our bodies, was thus sealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day.
The resurrection will be a climactic event! In fact, it is written that the whole creation is waiting with great anticipation to witness it, ‘For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that he whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies,’ (Rom 8:19-23). The resurrection and revelation of the sons of God will thus usher in a New Day.
While the whole creation will witness the climactic and glorious revelation of the sons of God, the apostle Paul assures us that there will be no division in the Kingdom, and that all who at first believed, and had fallen asleep in Christ, will corporately partake of the resurrection, (1 Thes 4:13-15). This climactic event will occur at the glorious appearance of the Messiah, for ‘When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory,’ (Col 3:4). Messiah declared that His appearance will be visible to the whole earth, ‘For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vulture will gather,’ (Mat 24:27-28). [See also 1 John 3:2.]
We gain much insight into this glorious event from the Apostle Paul’s eschatology on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. We already established that our natural bodies cannot inherit this future new creation, for ‘the perishable cannot inherit the imperishable,’ and Paul explains, ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed,’ (1 Cor 15:51-52).
We know from the prophets that the imperishable Kingdom will not appear unless everything which can be shaken will be shaken, (Hag 2:6-9, 21-22; Heb 12:25-29). And thus we witness this great shaking in the events recorded in the book of Revelation. The climactic and dramatic second appearance of Messiah accompanying the revelation of the sons of God through the resurrection can only take place at the consummation of the shaking. Exchanging the perishable for the imperishable, will only occur when these events culminate in the war of the great day of God, the Almighty, the Battle of Armageddon. It is now that the archangel will blow the 7th and Last trumpet, ‘For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first,’ (1 Thes 4:16). [See Revelation 11:15-18 & Revelation 19.]
The prophet Isaiah had a profound prophetic revelation of this beautiful and glorious event, ‘And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; a banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine.(Wedding Feast) And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is stretched out over all nations. (Revelation of the sons of God) He will swallow up death for all time (First Resurrection), and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad in His salvation,”‘ (Is 25:6-9). [Insertions added by the author.]