The Daily Word of Righteousness

Believing About Jesus or Believing In Jesus?, continued

For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40—NIV)

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29—NIV)

Thinking carefully about John 6:40 (above) and John 5:28 (above) we note that on the one hand those who look to the Son and believe in Him will be raised by Christ at the last day. On the other hand everyone who is in the grave will hear the voice of Christ and rise to stand once again on the earth.

Those who look to the Son and believe in Him will be raised by Him; then everyone who is in the grave will hear His voice and come forth. Probably not the same event!

The extremely important doctrine of the resurrection has been successfully diverted in our day by the unscriptural emphasis on the ascension, the so-called "rapture." The Scriptures emphasize the resurrection because it is the crowning act of redemption, the restoration of what was lost in Eden. Self-seeking man emphasizes the "rapture" because he wants to escape trouble. It is as simple as that.

The resurrection is victory over the last enemy. The "rapture" is an unscriptural escape from the battle. The fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians knows nothing of a type of "rapture" that today has become the focus of Evangelical preaching. Rather Paul was speaking to the relatives and friends of deceased believers to comfort them by the fact their dead loved ones would return with Jesus.

We could surmise that those who have done good and are raised to life are the Christians, and the rest hear His voice but will be condemned because they have done evil. This would be the simple Evangelical interpretation.

However, there are other passages of the Scripture that lead me to believe this is not the explanation.

I think rather that those who keep on looking to the Lord and believing in Him, who learn to live by His body and blood, are the royal priesthood, those who participate in the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6—NIV)

However, when we come to John 5:28,29 (above) we see that the accent is on doing good and doing evil; not on looking to Jesus but on doing good and doing evil.

Since our Evangelical belief does not allow us to us perceive that God would reward doing good, only belief in Christ, we may find these thoughts difficult to accept. But we are incorrect in this. God indeed does reward doing good.

My thinking is that the members of the royal priesthood will be raised from among the dead at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and then there will be a general resurrection of the dead at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It is at the general resurrection that those who have done good rise to live and those who have done evil rise to be condemned.

To be continued.