Sunday, May 1, 2022

Resurrection Contradiction?

25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" [John 11:25-26; NKJV]

The above passage is one of several passages where Yeshua references the resurrection and promises eternal life.  The reason I bring up this passage is the apparent contradiction between Yeshua saying, "the one who believes in me shall live even though he dies" and him also saying, "the one who believes in me shall never die".  So how is this alleged contradiction resolved?  First, the passage is in the context of the resurrection.  Yeshua even states that much right before he said what he did.  Therefore, the rest of the passage shall be interpreted as if it is a statement of what will happen at the resurrection of the righteous.  Note that the one who does not believe in Yeshua will perish.

If the one who believes in Yeshua shall live even though he dies, then that is clearly a promise that the believer who dies shall be raised back to life.  I used to interpret verse 26 to mean that the soul leaves the body just before death, I have since learned (through some people pointing it out) that (a) souls are something that we are (Genesis 2:7), not something that we have.  And (b) the dead know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5)!  So that interpretation is ruled-out.  But again, Yeshua made it clear that what he is saying concerns the resurrection of the righteous, those who believe in him.  So the correct interpretation is that once you are raised at the resurrection of the righteous, you will never die again.

One interesting thing to note is that Yeshua counted the living among the dead and the dead among the living.  For example, in Mathew 8:22, he spoke of living people as if they were already dead.  And in Matthew 22:32, he spoke of dead people as if they were still living.  Matthew 22:32 is another passage who's context concerns the resurrection.  There are probably other passages like this.  So what's the idea behind counting the living as being dead and the dead as being alive?  If you answer the following question, you will have your answer:  What is the end result?  Those who are raised at the resurrection of the righteous will live forever.  Those who are not raised at the resurrection of the righteous will perish!

But there is not one resurrection, but two!  The resurrection of the righteous, which is the one that happens first (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and the resurrection of the wicked, which happens later.  At the second resurrection, there will be many people who will wish that they were not raised because of what will happen to them!

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and [the Grave] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and [the Grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. [Revelation 22:11-15; NKJV] [see note at end of post]

This is what will happen at the second resurrection, the resurrection of the wicked.  They will be required to give an account of everything that they have done.  And because they do not have any atonement for their sins, they themselves will pay the penalty for their sins by burning up in the lake of fire!  All who transgress the Law of Yahweh and have not had their sins atoned for by the blood of Yeshua will perish in the lake of fire as punishment for their innumerable transgressions.  The same will happen to anyone who uses this atonement as a license to sin, and willfully do that which they know is contrary to the commands of Yahweh.  The atonement for sin comes from the blood of Yeshua by believing in Yeshua, the one who died for our sins and was raised from the dead.

The Greek word "Hades" is a substitute for the Hebrew word "sheol", which literally means "grave".  The definition of the Hebrew equivalent is prioritized, because the New Testament (with the exception of Hebrews) was written in Hebrew.  One of the definitions of "Hades" is also "grave", but usually refers to either a false god or the realm of said false god which has the same name.  This pagan association is also why I'm prioritizing the definition of the Hebrew equivalent.

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