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IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN, YOUR FAITH IS VAIN
These are the thoughts of the great Apostle Paul, recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19.
Dear friends, it is quite proper for christians to reverently and joyfully call to mind the Lord's resurrection on its' anniversary. Because the birth, death and resurrection are the three circumstances of Jesus' first advent, which should be remembered by every child of God with reverent thanksgiving and praise! His birth was the dawn of hope for our race. Luke 2:25-34 His death was the seal of pardon and peace to every believer in his precious blood. Ephesians 1:6,7; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 2:2; John 1:29
And Jesus' resurrection (he was "the first born from the dead", Colossians 1:18) was the guarantee of God's expressed purpose to restore to life all of the human race who came unto Him by Jesus. Acts 2:21; 4:12; Romans 10:13 Now this blessed hope of a resurrection is wonderfully pictured for us in the raising of Jairus' daughter, recorded in Mark 5:21-24, 35-43. Notice that when Jesus first arrived at Jairus' home he was met by a great company of mourners. (Mark 5:38) Jesus astonishes these mourners when he told them not to weep, because "the child was not dead by asleep" (vs. 39). What did Jesus mean? Did the great teacher lie or deceive his audience? How shall we understand these words? What were the facts? What was the truth in this case?
GOD IN HIS PLAN HAS PROVIDED FOR THE RESURRECTION OF MANKIND
YES! He would provide a redeemer to satisfy the claims of divine justice against Adam and his race. (Genesis 2:17) This redeemer would become the great deliverer, and would establish the Messianic kingdom for the purpose of restoring all things. (Acts 3:19-21) And during this future kingdom all the willing of mankind would be released from the power of death (the original curse upon the human race.) Genesis 2:17 So it is from this standpoint, God's standpoint, that no human being is dead, that is, in the sense of being extinct, like the brute beast. And the awakening of mankind will be accomplished by Messiah's kingdom. All will then have fullest opportunity of coming to a knowledge of God's character and His will respecting them. At that time all will be assisted back into harmony with God, if they so desire, as illustrated by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 35:8-10. In this way mankind will thus reach again perfection of life as God originally created man. Genesis 1:27 So it is in this view of God's ultimate intention concerning the awakening of the dead that Jesus spoke of death as a "sleep," a period of rest, of quiet, of unconsciousness. Ecclesiastes 9:5 If the Bible pictures the dead as those who sleep (Job 14:12; Psalms 13:3; John 11:11,13; 1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 14:14) the obvious question that begs an answer then is
WHERE DO THE DEAD SLEEP?
The prophet Daniel answers that question in Daniel 12:2 stating that "they that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." Job also identifies the place where men sleep as the dust. (Job 7:21) Ah, that is it--"Dust to dust," as God said in the beginning to father Adam. (Genesis 3:17-19) Thus God has provided for Adam and his family (humanity) redemption from the power of death and deliverance from the dust, the tomb, by the power of the resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:22) God sent his dear son who proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life." John 11:25,26 Looking back then at Jesus' forceful words concerning Jairus' daughter, "the child is not dead but sleepeth," (Mark 5:39) we understand that he spoke these words to impress upon us this great lesson: that death does not end all, even though it appears to do so. The awakening of Jairus' daughter was an illustration of the Divine power which shall be exercised toward the entire race under the Messianic kingdom. Then, "all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the son of man and come forth." (John 5:28) This awakening from the dead is what the apostle Paul had in mind when he said that God is the "savior of all men." (1 Timothy 4:10) Yes, it is God's plan to save all who will receive life through his dear son Jesus! According to John 5:29 there will be two general classes of the dead to come forth:
Those who have already passed their trial, the church. These are to live and reign with Christ, as a part of the seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed, this is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4,5; Galatians 3:27-29;
The second class includes the remainder of mankind. This resurrection of mankind in general Jesus styled "the resurrection by judgment," by disciplines, by trials and testings. Acts 17:31; This resurrection or awakening is only the first step. Mankind will be raised up to mental, moral, and physical perfection. This raising up will be a gradual work, which will not be fully accomplished until the 1,000 years of the Messianic Age, or the Millennial reign of Christ is completed. The millions of mankind are those who Paul speaks of in 1 Timothy 2:4-6, who are to be saved (from death) and come to a knowledge of the truth (the truth that Jesus died for all, not just the church. 1 John 2:2). It is only those who willfully reject the Lord, and his way, that will be destroyed from among the people. Acts 3:23
This miraculous raising of Jairus' daughter, like the other miracles our Lord performed, were merely illustrations of the great work which he will do on a world-wide, gigantic scale in the future. So dear friends, according to God's loving and farsighted plan, by the end of the 1,000 year reign of Messiah (Revelation 20:1-5) all the willing and obedient will have attained human perfection, and therefore shall live forever. (John 6:51) Then, man's enemy, death, will have been destroyed and all things will have been made new! Revelation 21:1-5
THE DEAD SHALL LIVE AGAIN! WE HAVE GOD'S WORD ON IT!!!