A close examination of passages from the Holy Scriptures will demonstrate that souls are not immortal. In fact God declares very clearly that souls die:
“Behold, all souls are Mine. As the soul of the father, also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die” [Ezekiel 18:4]
In Jesus’ own words:
“do not fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matthew 10:28]
(God can re-construct our life/soul so it is preserved by God’s ability to bring it back to life. Handing it over to destruction in fires will destroy both body and should (life)).
When we read Genesis (i.e. the Bible book of beginnings) we find no creation record of a soul that was created immortal. In fact this is what we find in the creation record of man:
‘Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul’ (Gen 2:7)
Souls have a beginning, and this refutes the Hindu theology of eternal souls:
Equation of Life:
Dust + God’s breath => Living soul
Equation of Soul:
Body + Life => Living soul
Equation of Death:
Body - God’s breath => Dead body & soul
Note how modern translators translate the word “Soul”:
Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Gen 2:7 English Standard Version (ESV))
‘Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.’ (Gen 2:7 New International Version (NIV))
So a soul is simply a Living creature or a Living Being.
That is why the doctrine of resurrection is key to Christian hope. Jesus taught about resurrection thus:
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice. And they will come out, the ones having done good into a resurrection of life; and the ones having practiced evil into a resurrection of judgment.” – [John 5:28-29]
That is our souls will be awakened from the tombs they are buried in and will come back to life.
Do animals go to heaven when they die? No, so also you do not when you die:
The same destiny awaits animal and man – there is no difference “a man hath no preeminence above a beast”
I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. [Ecc 3:18-19]
Fate of all souls – Dust to Dust:
Ecc 3:20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.
It is important to understand his human condition. The humans are not like gods but mere dust. Therefore we have high dependence on our creator for life and sustenance.
Soul our very life and emotions and identity
Jesus said: “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time.” (John 12:27)
Jesus was referring to his inmost feelings and not an referring to something that has life independent of himself. David wrote about his soul (feelings or life):
“Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am in distress. My eye, my soul, and my body waste awaywith grief.” (Psalms 31:9)
“My soul shall be joyful in Yahweh. It shall rejoice in his salvation.” (Psalms 35:9)
“Why are you in despair, my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God! For I shall still praise him: my Savior, my helper, and my God.” (Psalms 43:5)
People in general can also be referred to as ‘souls’:
“These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob, even sixteen souls.” (Genesis 46:18)
Soul is that part of an individual that uniquely identifies and characterises the person. The DNA make up of a person uniquely identifies one individual from another. Soul is part of the body and also includes one’s emotions, rationale and life. When the person dies, his body (the physical anatomy) dies along with all the individual’s emotions, rationale and memories i.e. soul. The soul comes into existence with the body; coming into life at the embryo and dies with the body at death.
If one were to have a plastic surgery that changes one’s appearance the true identity of the person (soul) is not lost. If one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease the brain and the soul degenerates as the person may exhibit new characteristics that he or she would not if their brain functioned normally.
Humans and animals are made of complex chemicals that produce their souls. DNA, Hormones, the anatomy and even the environment shape the soul or identity of self. At death all these come to an end. There is no consciousness at death. After death, the consciousness or identity of self can only be restored by a medical miracle, otherwise one’s soul rots away permanently with the body.
Grave is the end – We will perish
It an observable fact that life begins and life ends. We all fear for our life and for the life of our loved ones. David knew full well that there was nothing in the grave. Our connection with our loved ones and with the Creator is lost when we die. King David wrote in his psalms of death:
“For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” (Psalms 6:5)
“”What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?” (Psalms 30:9)
The Sheol or grave or hell or the land of the dead is void. No life or soul exists there. The soul also does not go to heaven after death. The Sons of Korah in their Psalms wrote of death as a place of ‘forgetfulness’:
“Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah. Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” (Psalms 88:10-12)
Death is a place of perpetual silence or non existence:
“The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence.” (Psalms 115:17)
When someone we love departs we mourn because of fear to never see them again. Though one’s religious beliefs may console one of a possible after life or a reincarnation, we observe that the deceased do indeed decease or cease to exist.
Job, understood death as a state of perpetual sleep:
“”For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant. But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep. Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come.” (Job 14:7-14)
Solomon said that there is no more work, knowledge or wisdom beyond this life:
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
When God pronounced death on mankind, he really meant it. Death is not be taken lightly. Many fanciful stories have been told that we really do not die and that we are immortal like God and his angels. Eternal Death is the ultimate punishment of the wicked:
“Like sheep they are appointed to the grave; death shall reign for them; and the upright shall have the rule over them in the morning; and their form is for rotting; the grave is their home.” [Psalms 49:14]
“But Yahweh’s face is set against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.” [Psalms 34:16]
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” [Psa 146:3-4]
“The wicked will see it, and be grieved. He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away. The desire of the wicked will perish.” (Psalms 112:10)
In the grave, the body and soul “perish”. The state of death is often expressed as one perishing:
“But man, despite his riches, doesn’t endure. He is like the animals that perish.” (Psalms 49:12)
“A false witness shall not be unpunished. He who utters lies shall perish.” (Proverbs 19:9)
“The righteous perish, and no one lays it to heart. Merciful men are taken away, and no one considers that the righteous is taken away from the evil.” (Isaiah 57:1)
The spirit of man
The Breath of Life
“And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh wherein is the breath of life.” (Genesis 7:15)
“And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall die.” – Gen 6:17
Humans and animals posses flesh and this flesh is kept alive through the ‘breath of life’. The breath of life is the very life force that was given to Adam and also to animals. When one dies the breathing stops and the breath of life returns to God. It is an observable fact that Cows, cats and humans breathe. The anatomy of humans and animals are made using common building materials.
“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty giveth me life.” (Job 33:4)
For the first life to start an external force was needed to bring a bunch of non living chemicals to life. This was achieved by God’s spirit. When the life breath is taken away (which God caused through his Spirit or power in the beginning), body and soul cease to exist. Animals and humans have personalities or souls that come to life at their birth and cease at death.
Philosophers often speak of humans being composed of body, soul and spirit. We have examined soul as the identity of self which includes ones emotions and character and the breath of life that keeps the body alive. Do we posses a spirit? God’s spirit is the life breath in us that sustains us. It is not just the mere breathing but the very life in us:
“Yahweh said, “My Spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; so his days will be one hundred twenty years.”” (Genesis 6:3)
Elihu expressed this concept thus: (The spirit in man = breath of the Almighty)
“But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.” (Job 32:8)
Solomon who wrote extensively about life, observed:
“Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21)
“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)
The Spirit of God in man is the breath of life that was given to Adam to sustain life. God’s spirit in man is God’s life force or spirit. When man dies the life that God gives man returns to him.
Spirit of man also means one’s feelings/enthusiasm
The spirit of man apart from the breath of life refers to one’s thinking and attitude and is similar to the soul. Consider the following usages to ascertain its meaning and application:
“Blessed is the man to whom Yahweh doesn’t impute iniquity, in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalms 32:2)
“or when the spirit of jealousy comes on a man, and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before Yahweh, and the priest shall execute on her all this law.” (Numbers 5:30)
“A man’s spirit will sustain him in sickness, but a crushed spirit, who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14)
“The spirit of man is Yahweh’s lamp, searching all his innermost parts.” (Proverbs 20:27)
“A man’s pride brings him low, but one of lowly spirit gains honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
“For my hand has made all these things, and so all these things came to be,” says Yahweh: “but I will look to this man, even to he who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
“If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood lies: “I will prophesy to you of wine and of strong drink;” he would be the prophet of this people.” (Micah 2:11)
The spirit of man like the soul is an emotional attribute that perishes with the body. The spirit within us is an attitude – example: if one is in ‘high spirits”, ‘sprit of freedom”, etc. The spirit within us is part of our makeup and was created:
“…Yahweh, who stretches out the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him says:…” (Zechariah 12:1)
What is the spirit of Jesus that he surrendered to his Father at death?
“Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)
The spirit of life that Jesus surrendered to the Father was his very life. Jesus died believing that his life would be restored by his God and Father.
Jesus’ resurrection is core to Christian teaching, without which Jesus would still remain in the grave. Jesus’ spirit is not a divine ‘Chrsit’ who continues to live. Jesus really died and was buried. Death is real and Jesus experienced real death. Jesus saw the glory beyond the grave and overcame his feelings of anxiety and despair when being subjected to a torturous death.
No part of Jesus survived the death. He ceased to exist for three days and therefore he cannot be God for God cannot die.
Jesus, Christ and son of God are all the same being. False christology divides the son into many parts. The SON died, this was possible because the SON was human and not God:
“For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
“I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.” (Revelation 1:18)
“For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:9)
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so GOD will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
Jesus like Adam was born mortal but through the resurrection the son of God has been made immortal.
Soul’s Hope – Jesus’ resurrection
“Behold, all souls are Mine. As the soul of the father, also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die”[Ezekiel 18:4]
“What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?” (Psalms 89:48)
The bible teaches and science is witness that humans do not survive death. There is no organ in our body called the soul. Souls die. So the only hope for mankind of an after life is to revive the soul from its dead state. Jesus was the first man in history to achieve this. The prophecy concerning Jesus was that Lord God Yahweh would not leave his soul in the grave. While the dead Lazarus was brought back to life miraculously he died again.
Jesus’ soul came back to life with an immortal body at his resurrection:
“But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not haveflesh and bones as you see that I have.“” (Luke 24:37-39)
Jesus’ death was prophesied like this:
“For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” (Psalms 16:10)
At death, indeed souls are abandoned to eternal silence. But, the anointed one of God would be revived back to life even before his body started to decay. So, Jesus was in a state of death for only 3 days. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the death of Jesus’ soul:
“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa 53:12)
“And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” (Isa 53:9)
The apostle Peter explained the prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection thus:
“For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:27-32) [Note: Sheol/Hades/Grave/Hell all largely mean the same thing].
Peter gives his witness to Jesus’ resurrection and that David who wrote the prophecy is still in his grave awaiting his resurrection (“For David didn’t ascend into the heavens” Act 2:34). The true hope for mankind then is in the resurrection i.e. to be made immortal or to obtain eternal life. The soul is not born with eternal life but eternal life has to be given for it survive after death. For faithful men and women awaiting the resurrection, the soul can be though of as in a state of ‘sleep’.
The teaching of resurrection is the most critical doctrine for mankind. Only in resurrection man has victory over death. At resurrection one’s soul is revived and brought back to life. Jesus gave this assurance of the after life, that though we die, yet we do not truly die for our soul (consciousness) is secure with God because God can bring our soul back to life:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28-31) [Note: Jesus was not preaching the immortality of the soul but its mortal and fragile state and that it is in God Yahweh’s hand to revive]
The Gospel message or the good news is that death came via sin is pardoned through Jesus. One can escape the curse of death through the resurrection as witnessed in resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the “first fruits” or the first of a kind and others will follow likewise. The message of resurrection is extensively taught in the New testament writings. People who obey Lord Yahweh by the example of his son can expect an resurrection of eternal life when the son returns to the earth. Eternal life is a gift from God. We are not born with it – our souls have to be mortal to receive the gift of eternal ‘life’:
“”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Paul taught the resurrection of Christ with first importance:
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)
Resurrection then leads to:
- Forgiveness of sins through the life and example of a perfect human being that was an acceptable sacrifice
- Raised from the dead on the third day
Jesus is the first and last or alpha and omega in that he was the ‘first’ to be resurrected from the dead and he is the ‘last’ in that there is no other to come greater than he and to him all authority has been granted by his God and Father Yahweh:
““Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.” (Revelation 1:17,18)
In the initial section of this document we explored many scriptures that showed the death is the end, but Christ’s resurrection gives us hope that God is able to reverse death and bring our soul back to life. Jesus’ resurrection proves that death is not the termination of human existence.
The book of Acts or the Book of preaching lays a huge emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus:
- “him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.” (Acts 2:23-24)
- “This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:32)
- “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:13-15)
- “be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in him does this man stand here before you whole.” (Acts 4:10)
- “We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (Acts 10:39-41)
Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power at his resurrection:
“concerning his Son, who was born of the offspring of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 1:3-4)
Did Jesus raise himself?
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?” But he spoke of the temple of his body.” (John 2:19-21)
Jesus knew God his Father would raise his body from the dead. When he said “I will raise it up” it needs to be understood in the right context. For the very NEXT verse gives the right interpretation:
“When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2:22)
I.e raised from the dead by God his Father. Those were words of faith. For Jesus confessed:
“Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.” (John 5:19)
Jesus explicitly stated he received this command from the Father implying the Father would resurrect him.
“Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”” (John 10:17-18)
These are enigmatic sayings that have to be understood in the right context. For instance consider:
“Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves.” (John 6:53)
A literal reading leads one to ask the question, will his flesh taste like a familiar chicken dish or will it be more tastier than roast lamb chops? Will we have to consume his flesh bland or are we allowed to spice it up?
The overwhelming evidence of the apostles interpreted Jesus’ statement – for they all believed YHWH God raised Jesus from his sleep:
The concept of Resurrection
The Bible teaches that resurrection (i.e. rising from death) will occur before the final judgment. Judgment would be meaningless if a person receives his reward or condemnation before a judgment. The concept of souls going to heaven or hell immediately after death is incorrect according to scriptures. The following Bible passages help to bring a clear understanding on the subject:
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the sky; and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.” [Daniel 12:2-3]
Above is a clear passage teaching on resurrection and judgment. When we die (whether righteous or wicked) we all go to the grave (“Sheol”/“Hell”) and await the resurrection call. Those who are found righteous are given eternal life while the wicked are eternally shamed (not tortured!). Their punishment is in their resurrection that will be for condemnation and shame only. They will reflect on their life but it is now too late. Only a shameful (and possibly painful) eternal death will await them.
Jesus gave the doctrine of resurrection great significance::
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice. And they will come out, the ones having done good into a resurrection of life; and the ones having practiced evil into a resurrection of judgment.” [John 5:28- 29]
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:40]
“But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you shall be blessed, for they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” [Luke 14:13-14]
From the above passages it is clear that there will be a resurrection or a raising of the dead from their graves to be judged. This will happen at the appearance of Jesus Christ at the “end” of time or “last” day. Following the resurrection is when the judgments of God will be executed on the wicked.
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” [Hebrews 9:27-28]
Paul declared the message and hope in resurrection of Jesus to the Athenian Greeks thus:
“The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands,… He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings…he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.… ” (Acts 17:22-34)
The prophets Isaiah and Hosea prophesied of the resurrection at a future time:
“Your dead shall live. My dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the departed spirits.” (Isaiah 26:19)
“He has swallowed up death forever! The Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces. He will take the reproach of his people away from off all the earth, for Yahweh has spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8)
“I will ransom them from the power of Sheol.I will redeem them from death! Death, where are your plagues? Sheol, where is your destruction?“ (Hosea 13:14)
Paul’s teachings on the Resurrection – The Gospel message
The doctrine of resurrection was a a very core teaching that the apostle himself came to believe. Before he accepted Christ as his saviour he had violently opposed Christianity. Once convinced he saw the central hope for mankind was in their resurrection.
Paul Tells of His Conversion and his core beliefs of the new religion he converted to:
““Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at noon, O king, I saw on the way a light from the sky, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who traveled with me. When we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you a servant and a witness both of the things which you have seen, and of the things which I will reveal to you; delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ … but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple, and tried to kill me. Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen, how the Christ must suffer, and how, by the resurrection of the dead, he would be first to proclaim light both to these people and to the Gentiles.”” (Acts 26:12-23)
When preaching to Greek philosophers he emphasised Jesus and the resurrection:
“Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign deities,” because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.” (Acts 17:18)
When preaching to his own people – the Jews, he emphasised resurrection:
“Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” (Acts 23:6)
When Paul was brought before Felix at Caesarea he again testified of the resurrection:
“having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)
“Or else let these men themselves say what injustice they found in me when I stood before the council, unless it is for this one thing that I cried standing among them, ‘Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged before you today!’”” (Acts 24:20-21)
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians that without belief in resurrection their belief is in vain:
“Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-14)
Paul witnessed to the Christian at Philippi:
“that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)
Paul’s gospel message was Jesus Christ, risen from the dead:
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the offspring of David, according to my Good News, in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God’s word isn’t chained. Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones’ sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: “For if we died with him, we will also live with him.” (2 Timothy 2:8-11)
Resurrection our only Hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)
Salvation by resurrection:
“For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man.” (1 Corinthians 15:21)
The Resurrected Body:
“But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. That which you sow, you don’t sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. But God gives it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:35-46)
Jesus is a life giving spirit possessing a ‘spiritual body’ that he offered for inspection to his disciples post his coming back to life.
Resurrection defeats the ultimate enemy of mankind – death:
“Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood can’t inherit God’s Kingdom; neither does the perishable inherit imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will 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 incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” ““Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-57)
The Coming of the Lord Jesus is critical for resurrection to occur:
“But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)