Foundational Doctrines of Christ 5

Resurrection of the Dead, Part 1

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

by Pastor John Hamel

 

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Live Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Christ the Firstfruits

The Seed Planting Principle

Christ's Resurrection Benefits Believers Here & Now

 

  Introduction

 

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." (Hebrews 6:1-2)

 

We have now come to the subject of "Resurrection of the Dead."  Notice, the Apostle Paul said, "...and of resurrection of the dead."  He did not say, "...and the resurrection of the dead." 

 

Notice, the Apostle used the preposition "of" and he did not use the definite article "the."  This is because he is speaking of more than one resurrection.  

 

There are three resurrections of the dead.  

 

The first resurrection is the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This resurrection will be our topic in this first study. 

 

It is surprising the number of professing Christians who see no significance in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is especially surprising when the Bible says you cannot be saved if you do not believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the most essential of the three resurrections because Jesus' resurrection is the basis for every Christian's resurrection. 

 

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death (Adam), by man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the Firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." (1 Corinthians 15:19-24)

 

Notice how the Apostle Paul portrays the resurrection of the dead coming forth in three successive stages.  

 

In verse twenty-three, Paul reveals that Christ shall come forth from the dead first.  This is why he called Christ "the firstfruits." 

 

Following Christ's resurrection shall come the resurrection of those who died believing in Christ. Paul made reference to them in verse twenty-three when he said, "Afterward they that are Christ's at His coming."  

 

Finally, Paul reveals the final resurrection as that which will bring forth unbelievers from the dead. He referred to this resurrection in verse twenty-four when he said, "Then cometh the end."  

 

The "end" is a reference to the end of Christ's one thousand year Millennial Reign when the Great White Throne Judgment of all unbelievers will occur.  

 

Just prior to this judgment those who died rejecting Christ will be raised to stand before it.

 

We will have an entire lesson on the Resurrection of Believers, as well as the Resurrection of Unbelievers.  Today, however, we will focus this entire lesson on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

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Christ the Firstfruits

 

"But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits." (1 Corinthians 15:23)

 

Here the Apostle Paul is pointing out the similarities between the resurrection of Jesus and the ceremony of presenting the firstfruits of the harvest unto God.  This ceremony was ordained for Israel under Mosaic Law.  

 

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Leviticus 23:9-11)

 

This ceremony is a type and a shadow, or a picture, of Christ coming forth from the dead to signify two things. 

 

First, it signifies that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection was for all men. Notice, Moses said the waving of the sheaf before the Lord was "for you."  

 

Second, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus marked the beginning of a tremendous coming harvest of eternal souls.  This is why Jesus is called the "firstfruits."

 

Notice how accurate this picture is.  A sheaf is a bundle of cut stalks tied together.  The sheaf of the firstfruits was the first bundle to be taken from the harvest field. This was the first bundle to be taken out of the ground.  This portrays Christ's coming up out of the grave. 

 

Moses then told Israel to "wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you." (Vs. 11)  

 

Jesus Christ was not risen for His vindication alone.  He was risen for our vindication

 

The Apostle Paul told the Romans that Christ "...was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:25) 

 

So we see in the ceremony of the firstfruits a perfect picture of Christ being planted in death and risen in life for you and me.

 

Moses also said that the Priest was to wave the sheaf "on the morrow after the Sabbath." (Vs.11) 

 

The morrow after the Sabbath was the first day of the week for Israel.  

 

Jesus was also risen on the first day of the week.

 

"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared and certain others with them.  And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in and found not the body of Jesus." (Luke 24:1-3)

 

This is an amazing revelation as only the Holy Spirit could have known back at the time of the ceremony of the firstfruits that Jesus Christ would be risen from the dead on the first day of the week. 

 

Why was it necessary to "wave the sheaf before the Lord"?  Waving the sheaf before the Lord was an act of thanksgiving and triumph because the appearance of the firstfruits meant that the whole harvest field was about to come forth.  

 

This is why Jesus is called "Christ the Firstfruits."  His resurrection is the assurance of the Believer's resurrection.

 

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death (Adam), by man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

 

Notice also that Christ has become the "firstfruits" plural of "them" that slept. This is signifying that all who died believing that Christ would come, or who died believing Christ has come, will ultimately be risen to immortality in Him.

 

Notice again how we saw earlier that a sheaf was a "bundle" of stalks all tied together. We saw how the sheaf of firstfruits to come off the harvest field was the first bundle to come off the harvest field. This revealed the fact that Jesus would not be alone when He came forth from the grave. There were very many other stalks, symbolizing risen Saints, in that firstfruits bundle. 

 

"Jesus when He cried again with a loud voice yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom: and the Earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many (not all) bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection and went into the Holy City and appeared to many." (Matthew 27:50-53)

 

These events are written in close succession but they took place over a three day period. 

 

These individual stalks, risen Saints, were harvested with Jesus that wonderful day in order that the Old Testament ceremony of the firstfruits might be fulfilled in Him and them. 

 

Jesus, plus these resurrected Saints who were raised with Him, represent the first bundle of sheaves to come off the Earth's harvest field.  

 

This is God's guarantee to not only bring Jesus up out of the ground, but to one day bring forth the whole harvest field of all His children who sleep in Christ.

 

Jesus spoke of this in John's Gospel.

 

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The Seed Planting Principle

 

"Verily, verily I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24)

 

Jesus was talking to Philip and Andrew when He made reference to "a corn of wheat" which should fall into the ground and die.  A corn of wheat is a seed.  Jesus was using a seed to symbolize the human body. 

 

He was telling Philip and Andrew, in essence, "If I keep living you will die and you will not rise again.  However, if I die as your representative, all who follow Me into the ground will also follow Me and rise up out of the ground again."  

 

It is a fact of nature that single seeds planted do not produce other single seeds.  Rather, single seeds planted produce a whole cluster of seeds.  

 

Some seeds planted actually produce millions of seeds.

 

This seed-planting principle perfectly portrays the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

 

Jesus was buried alone as a single corn of wheat.  But when the Spirit of God rose Him up, He was no longer alone. He was accompanied by a whole handful of seeds. He was accompanied by many other saints who also rose from the grave that day.  

 

Jesus' resurrection from the grave was and will be the ultimate performance of the seed planting principle. God planted the one best Seed He had into humanity's eternal destiny and He is even now preparing to reap a tremendous harvest of humanity at what the Bible refers to as the Resurrection of Life

 

No matter how long a human body lay buried in the Earth, if that body belongs to a Jesus' Believer, it will rise again in the Resurrection of Life.  If that body did not belong to a Jesus' Believer, it will rise again to the Resurrection of Damnation.

 

The British Museum once put on display a few seeds which had been taken from the Tomb of King Tut in Egypt.  The seeds were over 3,000 years old.  The humidity and the light in the display case caused the 3,000-year-old seeds to germinate and begin to grow.  Although they had been kept in utter darkness for over 3,000 years, they sprung forth to life once again while on display in the British Museum. 

 

This is a perfect illustration of the fact that no matter how long a seed or a body has been dead and buried, given the right conditions and the right environment it will rise again, even as Jesus said.

 

Someone may say, "Well, what about bodies that are cremated, or that are buried at sea? How is God able to raise those bodies from the dead?"  

 

I am not ashamed to say that I do not know the answer to this question. 

 

But I do know this. It does not matter if a body is cremated or swallowed up by ten thousand fish that swim off in ten thousand different directions. God knows where everybody's DNA is and He will call it forth during the coming great harvests of souls at both the Resurrections of Life and Damnation.

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Christ's Resurrection Benefits Believers Here & Now

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ has not only eternal benefits for the Christian, but has a great many benefits here and now. We will list just a few of them.

 

First: Jesus' resurrection provides the only basis for faith in God.

 

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by Him do believe in God that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory: that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Peter 1:18-21)

 

If Jesus stayed in the ground, He would be no different than Buddha, Mohammad or any other dead religious leader.  But God rose Jesus from the dead to prove He was not just another man with influence. God rose Jesus from the dead to prove He was the Son of God, in order that we might have faith in God as a result of that resurrection.

 

"[Jesus is] declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:4)

 

On two occasions the Jews demanded Jesus perform a miracle to help them believe He was really the Son of God. Jesus told them on the first occasion, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19-22) He was telling them, "You want to see a miracle? Keep watching. Soon you will kill me but I will raise from the dead. Then you'll have all the proof you need to know that I came from God."  

 

On the second occasion Jesus told the Jews, in essence, "Do you recall how Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale? Well, in the same way I'm about to spend three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth. This will occur as a result of you unjustly accusing Me and illegally murdering Me. But keeping watching closely because at the end of that three-day period, My Father will raise Me from the dead and that will be your sign of Who I am."  (Matthew 12:39-40)

 

So we see, when the Jews asked Jesus for a sign that they might have faith in God through Him, He told them, "Watch for My resurrection from the dead."  

 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is intended of God to give humanity hope in God.

 

Second: Jesus' resurrection takes the guesswork out of salvation.

 

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

 

Before Jesus died at Calvary's Cross people looked forward and believed He would come to save them. However, after the Cross we now look back, believing He has come.  

 

Now God assures us that by believing Jesus has come to pay the penalty for our sins, and that God has raised Him from the dead, we will make it to our eternal home in Heaven

 

Third: Jesus' resurrection provides deliverance from the Curse of the Law.

 

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)

 

Every Christian should read Deuteronomy chapter 28:1-68 for a better understanding of what the Curse of the Law actually is.  

 

Basically, the Curse of the Law includes sickness, disease, poverty, harassment and oppression of demon powers and eternal separation from God as a result of sin. 

 

Christ has redeemed the Believer from all of these things.  Any Believer can learn how to use their Christian authority in all of these areas and more.

 

Fourth: Jesus' resurrection frees us from condemnation. 

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

 

Believers in Jesus Christ need not spend their lives wondering if God is mad at them. He is not

 

As long as the Believer does their best to walk in obedience to God, repenting when they make mistakes, they can continue in fellowship with God.

 

"Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:33-34)

 

When Christ was risen He was seated at the Father's right hand, in order that He may intercede for and stand in defense of those who believe in Him.  Jesus actually acts as an attorney for His followers when they stumble and fall. 

 

"My little children these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." (1 John 2:1)

 

An "advocate" is another word for attorney. Christ serves as an attorney before the Supreme Court of the Universe on behalf of all those who believe God rose Him from the dead once the penalty for their sin was paid.  

 

How wonderful that our Elder Brother, Jesus, is our attorney representing us before His Father and our Father - the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Universe.  

 

Talk about no condemnation!

 

I can almost see and hear into that Holy Courtroom every time I make a mistake, as my attorney steps up to the bench on my behalf and confidently says, "Your Honor, My Father, I come to You on behalf of My client, My brother and Your son, John Hamel. 

 

"I stand before You today to remind You of Your promise to have mercy on him each and every time he blows it, as long as He confesses his mistakes before You in My Name. 

 

"Well, Your Honor, My Father, My brother, Your son has blown it again.  

 

"However, according to the order of this Court he has confessed his mistake and he's asking for another demonstration of mercy from Your Honor, his Father Who presides over this Highest of Courts."

 

I can almost see His Honor, My Father, as He looks me in the eye, slamming His gavel down on the bench of the Supreme Court of the Universe and firmly decrees, "Case dismissed. Next case, please."  

 

I can see the sparkle in His eye as He winks at me and smiles.

 

Of course, this is not a license to sin.  But it is a license to repent and to receive forgiveness whenever the Believer stumbles and falls.

 

Satan will condemn us.  People will condemn us.  But God justifies us and He does it because we believe that Jesus Christ, our attorney, has risen.   

 

Fifth: Jesus' resurrection provides power for living.

 

"And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the Heavenly places." (Ephesians 1:19-20)

 

The power of Almighty God is available on a daily basis to all who have faith in a resurrected Lord.  

 

That power is equal to any emergency or any need.  Every Believer in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has the right to use His Name and expect supernatural results.

 

Sixth: Jesus' resurrection assures the Believer of Eternity in Heaven.

 

"And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)

 

All who put their confidence in Christ's shed Blood and His resurrection from the dead are guaranteed Eternal Life.

 

Remember Christ the Firstfruits. 

 

Christ's resurrection is the assurance of our resurrection if we are His offspring. 

 

Seventh: Jesus' resurrection guarantees a judgment day for both good and evil. 

 

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. And shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the Resurrection of Life; and they that have done evil, unto the Resurrection of Damnation." (John 5:28-29)

 

These resurrections are as certain as death.  

 

Judgment for both good and evil is as certain as these resurrections.

 

Many are deeply offended by these statements, yet they are true nonetheless.  

 

The Resurrection of Life and the Resurrection of Damnation will be the subjects of our next lesson

 

Be Blessed John and Barbara Hamel

 

 

How to Be Born Again (Receive Christ as Your Savior)

 

How to Receive The Holy Spirit & Power

 

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