Understanding God's Word: The Resurrections of the Dead

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The Resurrections of the Dead

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Early in life we begin to realize that all living things die. The first realization may come at the death of a family pet. As we continue on this journey of life, people we know and love die. When a loved one dies, all of us struggle with grief, with the need for meaning in life and with the need to know what will happen to us after our own death. Thousands of years ago Job asked the age-old question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14 Job 14:14If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
American King James Version×
).

What does God, the Creator and Giver of life, say in His Word about the dead? What is their current state? Are they in heaven, hell, purgatory or some other place? What about those who have lived and died never hearing the name of Jesus Christ, the only name by which we can be saved? (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×
). What of the multiple billions who never heard God’s truth before they died? Are they cut off from God for all eternity?

The Bible speaks often of the resurrection of the dead. But what is the purpose of the dead being raised if people go to heaven or hell at death, as many believe? Read on to discover the fascinating truth about the resurrections of the dead!

Discussion: What is the life of man? What gives our lives meaning and value?

  • What does the Bible say about the life of man? (Psalms 90:3-6 Psalms 90:3-6 [3] You turn man to destruction; and say, Return, you children of men. [4] For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. [5] You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which grows up. [6] In the morning it flourishes, and grows up; in the evening it is cut down, and wither.
    American King James Version×
    , 10, 12; 103:15-16; James 4:14 James 4:14Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
    American King James Version×
    ).

 

Discussion: What happens to us at death?

  • Is death a conscious or unconscious state? (Job 7:21 Job 7:21And why do you not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and you shall seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
    American King James Version×
    ; Psalms 146:4 Psalms 146:4His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
    American King James Version×
    ; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 [5] For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. [6] Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Do the dead have a relationship with God? (Psalms 6:5 Psalms 6:5For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?
    American King James Version×
    ; 115:17).
  • Will all people have to experience death? (Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Is it God’s desire that human beings should suffer death? (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    American King James Version×
    ; 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: Death is not what God originally intended for mankind. Death is the result of sin. God designed life and had a plan for how it is to work for humans. All of us, under the influence of Satan, choose to live our own way and reject God’s plan and purpose for our lives. The result is unhappiness, anxiety, strife and eventual death. God isn’t the cause of our illness, accidents, grief and suffering. God is the only solution to save us from death (Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
American King James Version×
, 20; Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×
; 6:23).

  • To what condition does the Bible compare death? (Psalms 13:3 Psalms 13:3Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
    American King James Version×
    ; John 11:11-14 John 11:11-14 [11] These things said he: and after that he said to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. [12] Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. [13] However, Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. [14] Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
    American King James Version×
    ; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 1 Thessalonians 4:14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Will those who have died be awakened from death? (Ephesians 5:14 Ephesians 5:14Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
    American King James Version×
    ; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 [51] 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.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: Writers in both the Old and New Testaments refer to death as “sleep.” This indicates that it is a temporary condition, from which the Bible reveals the dead will be awakened!

Discussion: Does the Bible teach that those who are dead will come back to life?

  • Did the saints and prophets believe in future resurrections of the dead? (Job 14:13-15 Job 14:13-15 [13] O that you would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret, until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! [14] If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. [15] You shall call, and I will answer you: you will have a desire to the work of your hands.
    American King James Version×
    ; 19:25-27; Psalms 17:15 Psalms 17:15As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.
    American King James Version×
    ; Isaiah 26:19 Isaiah 26:19Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
    American King James Version×
    ; Daniel 12:2-3 Daniel 12:2-3 [2] And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. [3] And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
    American King James Version×
    , 13; Hosea 13:14 Hosea 13:14I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be your destruction: repentance shall be hid from my eyes.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: The Old Testament writers proclaimed a Redeemer who would “ransom” them from the power of the grave. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that Redeemer!

  • What did Jesus Christ teach about the future resurrections of the dead? (John 5:24-25 John 5:24-25 [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life. [25] Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
    American King James Version×
    , 28-29; 6:39, 40; 11:21-26; Luke 14:12-14 Luke 14:12-14 [12] Then said he also to him that bade him, When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brothers, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbors; lest they also bid you again, and a recompense be made you. [13] But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: [14] And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • What did the New Testament apostles believe and teach about the future resurrections of the dead? (Acts 4:1-2 Acts 4:1-2 [1] And as they spoke to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came on them, [2] Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
    American King James Version×
    ; 23:6; 24:15, 21; Philippians 3:10-14 Philippians 3:10-14 [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death; [11] If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. [12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Is immortality something man now possesses? (1 Corinthians 15:51-55 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 [51] 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. [53] 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 your sting? O grave, where is your victory?
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: The Bible doesn’t teach that the dead are now living in an eternal state of bliss in heaven or torment in hell. The resurrections of the dead are future events. The apostles understood that even the righteous king David (Acts 13:22 Acts 13:22And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
American King James Version×
) did not “ascend into the heavens,” but was “both dead and buried” (Acts 2:29 Acts 2:29Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.
American King James Version×
, 34). The doctrine of the resurrections is one of the foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church (Hebrews 6:1-2 Hebrews 6:1-2 [1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
American King James Version×
).

  • Who is the only man who has been resurrected to eternal, spirit life? (Acts 2:22-24 Acts 2:22-24 [22] You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Jesus, through His resurrection, received a special place in salvation history. What is that honor? (Colossians 1:18 Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: If He is “the firstborn from the dead,” then there must be others to follow-which is exactly what the Bible reveals!

  • How precious is this knowledge? (1 Peter 1:3-6 1 Peter 1:3-6 [3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
    American King James Version×
    ).

 

Discussion: Are there different resurrections?

  • Does the Bible describe more than one resurrection? (Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • When does this “first resurrection” take place? (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 [13] But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    American King James Version×
    ; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 [51] 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.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: The “last trump” and “seventh trumpet” refer to the same event, which is the great trumpet blast that precedes the second coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And 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.
American King James Version×
).

  • What will happen to those brought back to life in the first resurrection? (Romans 6:5 Romans 6:5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
    American King James Version×
    ; Philippians 3:20-21 Philippians 3:20-21 [20] For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Will this be a resurrection to a physical body, or something entirely different? (1 Corinthians 15:35-54 1 Corinthians 15:35-54 [35] But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? [36] You fool, that which you sow is not quickened, except it die: [37] And that which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be, but bore grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: [38] But God gives it a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [39] All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. [40] There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. [41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. [45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. [46] However, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [47] 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. [50] Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. [51] 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. [53] 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.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: Those in the first resurrection will be raised to a glorified immortal spirit body. They will be like the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ! (1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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).

  • What will those in the first resurrection do? (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
    American King James Version×
    , 6).
  • What will be their relationship with God? (Romans 8:14-19 Romans 8:14-19 [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Since there is a “first resurrection,” is there a second resurrection? When does it take place? (Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
    American King James Version×
    , 11-12).

Note: This resurrection is called the “Great White Throne Judgment.” The first resurrection will have taken place at Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
American King James Version×
). Those given eternal life in the first resurrection will live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×
). At the end of this 1,000 years, “the rest of the dead” are brought back to life.

  • Who will be resurrected at this time? (Matthew 10:15 Matthew 10:15Truly I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
    American King James Version×
    ; 11:20-24; 12:41-42; John 5:28-29 John 5:28-29 [28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, [29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
    American King James Version×
    ).
  • Is the Great White Throne Judgment a resurrection to spirit life or a physical resurrection? (Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ezekiel 37:1-14 [1] The hand of the LORD was on me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the middle 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, see, they were very dry. [3] And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, you know. [4] Again he said to me, Prophesy on these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. [5] Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you 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, see, the sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on 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 on their feet, an exceeding great army. [11] Then he said to 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 to them, Thus said 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 you 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 you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: All people who ever lived without an opportunity for a relationship with God will be resurrected at this time. Theirs will be a resurrection to physical life into a world that has been ruled by Christ for 1,000 years. They will no longer have Satan to contend with, influence and deceive them (Revelation 20:7-10 Revelation 20:7-10 [7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, [8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. [9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. [10] And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
). Those resurrected at this time will be taught and judged by the “books” (Revelation 20:11-12 Revelation 20:11-12 [11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] 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.
American King James Version×
) and for the first time have access to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. Even ancient Israel will be resurrected and given an opportunity for salvation (Romans 11:25-32 Romans 11:25-32 [25] For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. [29] For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. [30] For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: [31] Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. [32] For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
American King James Version×
).

  • Will there be final punishment for the incorrigibly wicked? (Revelation 20:14-15 Revelation 20:14-15 [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
    American King James Version×
    ).

Note: This “lake of fire,” or “second death,” is not a state of eternal conscious torment. It is the total destruction of the person’s body and consciousness. Matthew 10:28-31 Matthew 10:28-31 [28] And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. [29] Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. [30] But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.
American King James Version×
describes this fire as one of complete annihilation. In Malachi 4:1 Malachi 4:1For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
American King James Version×
, 3, God states that “The day is coming, burning like an oven, and . . . all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up . . . They shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this . . .” The unrepentant wicked are simply burned up, never to exist again.

All who have ever lived will have an opportunity through the resurrections to learn God’s way of life, repent, receive God’s Spirit and inherit eternal life. Those who refuse will be burned up and cease to exist.

These resurrections are not to be confused with various individual physical resurrections that have taken place. The Bible records several resurrections to physical life. Once these people lived out their lives they died and are waiting to be brought back to life in one of the other resurrections.

Examples of physical resurrections in the Bible are given in 1 Kings 17:17-24 1 Kings 17:17-24 [17] And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. [18] And she said to Elijah, What have I to do with you, O you man of God? are you come to me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? [19] And he said to her, Give me your son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he stayed, and laid him on his own bed. [20] And he cried to the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, have you also brought evil on the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? [21] And he stretched himself on the child three times, and cried to the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray you, let this child’s soul come into him again. [22] And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. [23] And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him to his mother: and Elijah said, See, your son lives. [24] And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.
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; 2 Kings 4:32-37 2 Kings 4:32-37 [32] And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid on his bed. [33] He went in therefore, and shut the door on them two, and prayed to the LORD. [34] And he went up, and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands: and stretched himself on the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. [35] Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself on him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. [36] And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in to him, he said, Take up your son. [37] Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
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; 13:20-21; Matthew 27:50-53 Matthew 27:50-53 [50] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; [52] And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, [53] And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many.
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; Luke 7:11-15 Luke 7:11-15 [11] And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. [12] Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. [13] And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not. [14] And he came and touched the bier: and they that bore him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say to you, Arise. [15] And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
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; 8:41-42, 50-56; John 11:1-4 John 11:1-4 [1] Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. [2] (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) [3] Therefore his sisters sent to him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. [4] When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
American King James Version×
, 11-14, 17-44; and Acts 9:36-42 Acts 9:36-42 [36] Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and giving of alms which she did. [37] And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. [38] And for as much as Lydda was near to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent to him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. [39] Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. [40] But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. [41] And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. [42] And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
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; 20:9-12.

The death of someone close to you can be emotionally overwhelming. The realization of the possibility of our own death can cause fear and anxiety. But, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, we no longer have to see death as a permanent state. We have assurance that we will see our loved ones again. We have the promise of God that, when we die, the next moment of consciousness will be the resurrection.

Grief caused by the loss of a loved one is a normal reaction of sadness and mourning. Grief is not a sign of a lack of faith. But, at the same time, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is going to return and the graves will open and the dead shall live again! 

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