What will it be like for those raised to life again in the resurrection described in Ezekiel's vision? Suddenly being raised back to physical life will certainly come as a shock to just about everyone affected!
It's likely that many will find themselves in a similar condition to those at the beginning of Christ's millennial reign, where many will have lived through the terrible time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Their needs would be similar—food, shelter, emotional healing and someone (actually those faithful servants of God already raised to everlasting spirit life at Christ's return a thousand years earlier) to comfort them and explain what has happened—giving them hope and help through the psychological trauma (see Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6).
Many who will rise in this White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium may have died peacefully and undoubtedly will be overjoyed by suddenly having new life and breath. However, the likelihood is that just as many will have died facing disasters and distress—death on a battlefield, starvation, horrific illness, natural disasters, drowning at sea (Revelation 20:13) and who knows what else. Some will be resurrected having been career criminals. Some will have died in accidents, others from drink- or drug-induced stupors.
From the descriptions given in Ezekiel 37:11–14, it seems unlikely that God will miraculously blot out all these memories (although He may alleviate some of the worst ones). Those mentioned in this passage remember their past lives—their memories leaving them with a sense of hopelessness (verse 11).
Perhaps God will use these terrible memories as a basis for healing of a different kind. Recovery from trauma can be a slow and painful process. While the grief of losing loved ones in death will no doubt be quickly overcome as people realize their loved ones have also been resurrected, there will be other emotional and psychological issues to deal with and overcome.
Severe anger, hatred and a desire for vengeance could be particular challenges. This kind of healing can take many months and even years—talking through, coming to terms with the circumstances and finally resolving the whole matter. Learning about the need to forgive and how to forgive is a vital part of the process.
But why would God want people to go through this kind of healing process? Why would He not just supernaturally remove all the awful memories and angry thoughts? Because all must learn not just about how sin causes untold suffering, but also how to value the newfound opportunity for everlasting life—avoiding those sinful thoughts and actions that if unchecked would eventually result in the second death (Revelation 20:14-15). Those resurrected will have to be taught a deep appreciation of God's plan of salvation.
They will have to learn that Christ is their personal Savior who suffered an ignominious death by crucifixion so that they could be forgiven and reconciled to God the Father. The salvation process of true repentance, water baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit for inward transformation helps bring true emotional and psychological healing (Acts 2:38).
It is the process that God uses today, it is the process that will be used during the millennial rule of Jesus Christ, and it is the process that God will use during the White Throne Judgment period. But the comfort provided by the already spiritually transformed saints of God will also be an essential part of supporting the salvation process. GN