3 Shocking Facts on Resurrection You Should Know

The more you read the Bible, the more references you’ll see to resurrection—that is, the dead coming back to life. This isn’t merely a spiritual experience or a metaphorical expression; it’s a physical reality. Resurrection in the Bible always involves the bringing back to life of real, flesh-and-blood bodies. As you read, you’ll see three main ways the Bible speaks about resurrection:

  1. To speak of individuals who died and then miraculously received back their lives. For example, God worked through the Old Testament prophets Elijah and Elisha to raise two boys from the dead (1 Kings 17:22; 2 Kings 4:32–37). Jesus went to a cemetery in Bethany and called Lazarus—buried for four days—out of the grave (John 11:1–44).
  2. To refer to Jesus coming out of the tomb—literally and physically—on that first Easter morning (Mat thew 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–8; Luke 24:1–49; John 20:1–23).
  3. To speak of the resurrection of all humanity at the end of time. Jesus says in John 5:28–29 that there will be a resurrection of all the dead—the righteous to eternal life and the evil to eternal judgment. The apostle Paul repeats this idea: “There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” (Acts 24:15).

Many assume that the life to come will be ethereal, that we’ll be ghostly or angelic immaterial beings. The Bible, however, pictures a future that is gloriously solid and material:

tree“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.” —1 Corinthians 15:20–23 NLT

As the prototype of resurrected humans, Jesus is proof positive that our resurrection bodies will be physical yet fit for eternity. Like Jesus’ body after his resurrection, our resurrected bodies will be seeable and touchable (John 20:20–27), yet “they will be raised as spiritual bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:44 NLT).

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