Resurrection

Resurrection, the Hope of Israel, and the Song of Moses

Though the entire Song of Moses has strong elements of prophecy, this section was particularly striking as it pertains to the resurrection we now have in Christ. For some time I have contended (and still do) that the fullness of resurrection comes from the OC Israelite hope of being planted in their land. To them that was resurrection. And we as Gentiles are grafted into that reality through our life with Christ. I believe that we have nothing short of what every Israelite throughout redemptive history has. Consider this passage:

Exodus 15:13-17 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. {14} The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. {15} Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. {16} Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. {17} Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.

Remember that the Song of Moses and the song of the Lamb could in very essence be said to be the fulfillment of the OC hope of Israel and the fulfillment of the NC hope of Israel. First, the elements we see are:

The leading forth of God’s people
The redemption of God’s people
The guiding of God’s people into the holy habitation of God
The nations fearing the people of God
The stilling of the nations before the people of God
The passing over of the people of God into the promised land
The purchasing of God’s people
The planting of God’s people on the mountain and in the sanctuary of God’s inheritance where He dwells.
The reign of God over His people

Paul identified this hope as he testified before the Jews:

Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Acts 26:6-8 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: {7} Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. {8} Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Acts 28:20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

When I consider the whole context of redemptive history I see the plain message of Israel’s desire: a resurrection into a heavenly land made by God; an purchase and redemption in order to bring them into that land. Notice that purchase and redemption are both found in the Song of Moses:

Exodus 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
Exodus 15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.

The book of Hebrews clearly declares that Abraham too was hoping in this heavenly land or resurrection:

Hebrews 11:14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
Hebrews 11:16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Of course that city or heavenly country for which Abraham longed is now inhabited (under the bond of the New Covenant) by all believers in Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

The first century believers were about to enter that city:

Hebrews 13:14  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one about (Gk. mello) to come.

The writer of Hebrews clearly emphasizes the fact that this promise was near or about to happen:

Hebrews 8:13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:36-37  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. {37} For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

The book of Hebrews deals with the same heavenly country or city, the same promise, and the same resurrection. This is precisely why chapters 11 and 12 cannot be separated regarding their context. It is abundantly clear that the writer of Hebrews is showing forth the hope of Israel and its imminence to that first-century generation. He is not addressing completely different ideas to be separated by thousands of years.

The question I must ask is this: If one studies the OT context of the hope of Israel and examines all passages with a hermeneutic that establishes the recurring theme of their hope in being planted in their land, one will also inevitably find bound in that hope the resurrection of the dead; therefore does it do the redemptive theme justice to affirm the promises of all the hope of Israel as fulfilled without the fullness of the resurrection or *with* the fullness of the resurrection? I contend that it is Scripturally far more plausible to see that identifying our being joined to Israel through faith in Jesus Christ also identifies our being joined to the fullness of the resurrection at that very moment. In Ezekiel we find a passage that irrefutably supports the synonymity of resurrection and being planted in their land:

Ezekiel 37:1-14  The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, {2} And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. {3} And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. {4} Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. {5} Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: {6} And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. {7} So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. {8} And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered t
hem above: but there was no breath in them. {9} Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. {10} So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. {11} Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. {12} Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. {13} And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, {14} And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

I believe that Israel saw this and made this association as well. Certainly the writer of Hebrews did! Consider again the elements of the redemption and the purchasing of the people of God:

Exodus 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
Exodus 15:16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.

Now recall this passage in Hosea which speaks of this same ransoming:

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Here God explicitly associates ransom and redemption with the very passage Paul cites to support the resurrection of the *dead*:

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. {55} O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

Even more fascinating is how Paul associates the law with the curse of *death*. There is only one death addressed in 1 Corinthians 15, and Paul links that death with the law. This therefore forces the passage to be referring to its Old Covental relationship. It is all a part of the redemptive goal of Israel.

We must not separate ransom and redemption from the fullness of resurrection in Christ. Through faith in Christ Israel was resurrected out of their spiritual death under the law into the fullness of ransom and redemption in Christ. Hence, "the just shall *live* by faith."

We must ask: Have we, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, been ransomed and redeemed? If the answer is yes, then Hosea tells us what else we have:

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

If we believe that we do not have the fullness of resurrection, then we cannot truly say that we have the fullness of redemption, for even Paul declared that Israel was still waiting for that fullness which was coming to completion during the first century:

Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, {14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Individual bodies comprised the OC body (singular) to which Paul is referring inasmuch as individual bodies comprise the NC body of Christ. Because the OC body was waiting for the individual justification of the last of the remnant (Romans 11; 2 Pet 3) its transition state had to be identified by Paul:

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The glories here are the OC and NC glories which Paul contrasts. But again, this is found in OC prophecy:

Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

The image is Christ, into which image they were being changed. They looked for the fullness of that image as individual elect Israelites were coming to faith in Christ:

1 Corinthians 15:47-49 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. {48} As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. {49} And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

There is only one redemption, ransom, and image, which were all the hope and goal of OC Israel. Hence:

Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

1 Corinthians 15:55-56 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

If we do not have the fullness of resurrection, then in some sense we too must still be tied to the law. I just cannot perceive of Paul addressing two entirely different deaths or resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15. I believe he is addressing the same hope of Israel from spiritual death and her longing for the heavenly country along with Abraham, her father. My contention is that the whole context of 1 Corinthians 15 is not dealing with physical death but rather covenantal death under the law. Otherwise Paul would have never addressed this. Orthodox Christianity has tried to affirm that Paul was addressing physical death, but one finds commentaries who support this idea void of any significant or credible explanation of verse 56:

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

But Paul goes to greater lengths to convince us that the fullness of resurrection is bound in OC prophecies and not to be disassociated from the theme of one salvation:

1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

From where does Paul get this "saying"?

Isaiah 25 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. {2} For thou hast made of a city
an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built. {3} Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee. {4} For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. {5} Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. {6} And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. {7} And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. {8} He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. {9} And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. {10} For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill. {11} And he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands. {12} And the fortress of the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust.

God associates salvation, the wiping away of tears, the rejoicing of God’s peole, the feasting of God’s people, and the destruction of Jerusalem with the swallowing up of death in victory. Unless we fall under the category of the first century saints who were still in the process of being changed, we must affirm that all these promises of God are fulfilled in us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ-again, "the just shall live by faith."

Isaiah predicted that at this time it would be said, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

He associates the salvation with the swallowing up of death in victory. If this is fulfilled through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then Paul’s allusion is clear:

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. {57} But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews deals with this same first-century expectation:

Hebrews 10:34-39  For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. {35} Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. {36} For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. {37} For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. {38} Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. {39} But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Please note that in the passage in 1 Corinthians the victory is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is very similar to:

Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? {25} I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. {2} For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. {3} For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: {4} That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Paul speaks of the abolition of death as synonymous with the fulfillment of the righteousness of the law…and how? "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

So then as we return to the passage in Exodus we are able to scrutinize with greater discernment the hope of Israel and its inseparable conclusion of ransom, redemption, and planting in their land on the mountain of God where He dwells:

Exodus 15:13-18 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. {14} The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. {15} Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. {16} Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. {17} Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. {18} The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

We are the inheritance in which God dwells. But where then is this inheritance dwelling? We can only find this out by understanding where God dwells:

Isaiah 57:13-19 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; {14} And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. {15} For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. {16} For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. {17} For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. {18} I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. {19} I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.

Truly this was the great desire of our God, Jesus Christ:

John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwelling places): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

But Judas (not Iscariot) wondered how this could be possible without the world noticing:

John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Christ’s answer:

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our mansion (dwelling place) with him.

Christ’s prayer of desiring to be with His people (something we have seen was His desire throughout the history of OC Israel) is fulfilled:

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

They were in the process of being built up a spiritual house in which God was dwelling:

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are being built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

But they had to separate themselves from those who refused to come out of the bondage of the law of sin and death:

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, {18} And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Notice the end result: He would receive them and they would be His sons. Luke associates this familial relationship with resurrection:

Luke 20:34-36 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: {35} But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: {36} Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Christ was not introducing a new redemptive motif. He was rather establishing that which all the prophets emphasized, and that is the hope of Israel’s resurrection. The problem is that the unbelieving Jews associated it with physical and carnal things such as physical marriage and physical corporeal death. But Christ and Paul explicitly teach the resurrection and "living unto God" as summarized as being in Christ:

John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: {26} And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Regardless of whether John is addressing dead and living believers, the end result is clear: those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will never die. And indeed Paul taught that being in Christ is living unto God:

Romans 6:10-11 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. {11} Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Luke taught that in the resurrection they would be called the children of God or the sons of God:

Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

They are equal to the angels ("ye have come to the spirits of just men made perfect and to an innumerable company of angels [angels are spirits]" ) and they are the sons or children of God:

2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

This is all related to the ransom and purchase of the people of God, which was the goal of the death of Christ:

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

And thus He would restore them and plant them into the spiritual kingdom of Christ, over which kingdom He would reign forever:

Luke 1:31-33 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. {32} He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: {33} And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

This of course takes our minds immediately back to our intial context:

Exodus 15:18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.

Some might argue that the last passage was from the song of Moses, not the song of the Lamb. But the Bible says:

Revelation 15:3-8 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. {4} Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. {5} And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: {6} And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. {7} And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. {8} And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

From the above text it is clear that the wrath poured out upon apostate Israel would satisfy God to the extent that the holiest of all would at last be opened to the eagerly awaiting congregation. That outpouring of wrath in those seven plagues would take place at the last trump:

Revelation 11:15-19 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. {16} And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, {17} Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. {18} And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. {19} And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

All the elements are there: the reward to the servants, the judgment of the dead and the opening of the holiest of all. Keep in mind that this reward would come quickly before some of the apostles died:

Revelation 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Matthew 16:27-28  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then
he shall reward every man according to his works. {28} Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Was this reward prophesied?

Isaiah 40:10  Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

The whole context in Isaiah deals with the appearance of John the Baptist. It would seem very strange for Isaiah to suddenly interject within the context an event that would not happen until thousands of years after John died. Isaiah speaks more on this subject:

Isaiah 62:11-12  Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. {12} And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Isaiah simply cannot separate this reward from salvation, redemption, and this city of God- a city to which the writer of Hebrews says that the first-century believers had come (Heb. 12:22). And of course Isaiah identifies this kingdom people as the holy people of God. The phrase "not forsaken" can be related to Hebrews 13 where God says "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and then a few verses later declares that they were about to come to this city. The theme of reward stood out in the minds of Jews as that hope of Israel, the resurrection of the dead.

Remember, this would all be fulfilled at the last trump as we saw in Revelation and in 1 Corinthians 15, the well-known resurrection text:

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, {52} In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

This of course is part of the greater resurrection context:

1 Corinthians 15:53-57 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. {54} So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. {55} O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {56} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. {57} But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

It all surrounds the swallowing up of death in victory through the judgment of God in pouring out His wrath upon Israel. The destruction of the OC Temple was the outward sign that God had brought His people into the complete union He promised for those in Christ.

And what was the timing of this trumpet and redemption:

Matthew 24:31-34 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. {32} Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: {33} So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. {34} Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

And even more powerfully, Christ predicts:

Luke 21:28-32 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. {29} And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; {30} When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. {31} So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. {32} Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

There redemption was said to be at hand as they saw those things come to pass. The trumpet would be blown and the people of God would be delivered from the curse of the law of sin and death. They would be resurrected (planted) into the glorious kingdom of Christ. The just would "live by faith."

In light of the whole context of redemptive history, it is evident that we must not isolate 1 Corinthians 15 from the entire biblical expectation of Israel and her hope of the resurrection. Paul was a Jew who had the same hope and understood the implications of the resurrection. It was to ransom, redeem, and resurrect the people of God out of spiritual death into the fullness of life in Christ. Again, 1 Corinthians 15 is contrasting the New Covenant elements of life and righteousness with the Old Covenant elements of death and sin. This must not be overlooked. And when the entire Biblical theme is grasped, our interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 will more accurately represent the message of the prophets and the significance of all things being fulfilled through faith in Jesus Christ in this everlasting New Covenant age:

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Luke 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: {26} Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? {27} And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44-45 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. {45} Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures

In Christ,
Ward

 

Ward Fenley (info@eschatology.com)

To view other articles written by Ward Fenley, please visit www.eschatology.org

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