THE FIRST DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN
A gracEmail subscriber recently attended two funerals at which the pastor said the deceased had experienced their resurrections. This subscriber believes that the resurrection will take place at Christ’s return. “Is there a biblical basis,” he asks, “for believing that Christians who die now experience their resurrection before that?”
Scripture points out both parallels and contrasts in the experiences of Adam and Jesus. For example, their individual conduct affected us all. “By a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:21). On the other hand, the contrast between Adam and Jesus could hardly be greater! Adam stands for death, smells like death, and leaves death as his legacy. Where Jesus is, there follows resurrection and life.
Resurrection is not random; it takes place exactly as planned. “Christ the first fruits, then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ (1 Cor. 15:24). “Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection–God called out “Number 1,” and Jesus came forth. God then hit the Pause button and the process instantly froze. As for the saved who have died, their resurrection will take place “at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:24).
Paul does express a desire “to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23), and he speaks of being “away from the body” and “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8). Believers who die are safe in the arms of Jesus, but like a baby in its parent’s arms, perhaps safely sound asleep and totally unaware of time. Whether asleep or awake, we can be certain that those who “sleep” (the Bible’s favorite metaphor for death) will “waken” soon enough, and when they do, it will be more than worth the wait!