Eschatology

 

 

The resurrection has already taken place

 

 

Some people who claim to be Christians affirm that the resurrection of the dead has already taken place.

For instance, within the Churches of Christ, those who have converted to the dogma of Max King affirm that the resurrection is already past having been spiritually effected in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem.

Even within the Pentecostal Churches some affirm that the resurrection of the dead has already taken place. The late Pentecostal preacher Francesco Aiuppa, in his book Il Regno di Dio: presente o futuro? [The Kingdom of God: present or future?], affirms that the words of Jesus: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29 - NKJV) were fulfilled on the day Jesus died on the cross, for Matthew says: “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:50-53 – NKJV) - (cf. Francesco Aiuppa, Il Regno di Dio: presente o futuro?, 2001, pages 24-25).

 

Confutation

 

The teaching according to which the resurrection of the dead is already past is a teaching that has nothing to do with the truth, for it is one of the lies conceived by the devil to lead Christians astray. This lie is very old, for we know that in the days of Paul some people said that the resurrection of the dead had already taken place. Here is what Paul wrote to Timothy: “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer, Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:16-18 – NKJV).

According to the Holy Scripture, all men will rise again. For Jesus said: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29 – NKJV), and Paul said “that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15 – NKJV).

As for the resurrection of the just, it will take place at Christ’s coming, as it is written: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming ….” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 – NKJV), and again: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 – NKJV). As you can see, in the light of the above mentioned verses of the Scripture, when the dead in Christ hear the mighty shout of the Lord Jesus, they will come out of the graves with an immortal body and they will meet the Lord in the air. Therefore, the resurrection of the just will take place at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As for the resurrection of the unjust, it will take place at the end of the thousand-year reign (which Christ will establish at His coming and during which Christ will reign on the earth with the saints), as it is written in the book of Revelation: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15).

So, brothers, beware of all those who affirm that the resurrection is already past, for they lie against the truth. Let no one of them deceive you with empty words, for both the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust are still future events.

 

 

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