Study for the Month of June 2010
The Four Group Resurrections
By Nathaniel Fajardo
ASIDE from the resurrection of certain individuals, the Bible reveals four group resurrections, namely:
- The saints who came up in the resurrection of Christ.
- The special resurrection which takes place at voice of God, opening up the seventh plague, Daniel 12: 1, 2; Rev. 17:7-21.
- The general resurrection of all the sleeping saint when Christ comes
- The resurrection of the wicked
We will discuss all four resurrections in this month’s study which is not exhaustive but certainly conclusive, as based on “the law and the testimony” (Isa. 8:20) and the “testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
First, we will cite the resurrection of certain special people mentioned in the Bible. The first of them was Moses, who died at the age of 120 after viewing the Promised land at the top of Mount Nebo. Jesus (then called Jehovah) buried him personally then immediately resurrected and brought him to heaven (Deut. 32: 48-52; 34: 5, 7). He, with Elijah, appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration for they were the representatives of the two classes of people who will be saved in the final kingdom of glory of God: by translation and by resurrection. E. G. White says (emphasis supplied):
“Moses passed under the dominion of death, but was not to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself called him forth to life. Satan the tempter had claimed the body of Moses because of his sin; but Christ the Savior brought him forth from the grave. See Jude 9. Moses upon the mount of transfiguration was a witness to Christ’s victory over death. He [Moses] represented those who shall come forth from the grave at the resurrection of the just [Luke 14: 14; Rev. 14: 12, 13, etc].
Elijah, who had been translated to heaven without seeing death [2 Kings 2: 1-11], represented those who will living upon the earth at Christ’s second coming, and who will be ‘changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;’ when ‘this mortal must put on immortality,’ and ‘this corruption must put on incorruption.’ 1 Cor. 15:51-53. . . . . Upon the mount the future kingdom of glory was represented in miniature,—Christ the King, Moses a representative of the risen [resurrected] saints, and Elijah of the translated ones.” E. G. White, Desire of Ages, pp. 421-2.
Translate, translation. Hebrew abar, meaning, “to pass over; the Greek methistemis, metatithemi, meaning “to transfer,” “to convey from one place to another,” “to remove;” metathesis, meaning, “a removal,” “a change,” “a transformation,”—terms that refer to the thing of a person from one place to another.” In 2 Sam. 3:10 of the KJV the word translate is used for the transfer of the kingdom of Israel from Saul to David. In Col. 1:13 (KJV) it is used figuratively of the transfer of the converted Christian from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of Christ, i.e. to the kingdom of divine grace in this life.
In Heb. 11: 5 (KJV), referring to Gen. 5: 6 that says “And Enoch walked with God: and was not; for God took him,” translate refers to translation of Enoch from this earth to heaven without tasting death. Enoch, the seventh patriarch from Adam and father of Methuselah (the longest-lived man ever recorded at 965) was the first man translated to heaven without tasting death (Gen. 5: 18-24; 1 Chron. 1: 13; Heb. 11: 5); Elijah the prophet was the second. Both, Elijah primarily, represent the 144,000 who live through the seven last plagues after the close of earth’s probation.
It is interesting to note that God chose Elijah, instead of Enoch to represent the translated ones at the Mount of transfiguration. One possibility is because Elijah’s persona, message, and work was specifically a prototype of the work of John the Baptist who was to “prepare the way” for the first coming of Christ, and is the illustration of the final work and message of the Advent Movement in the three angels of Revelation 14 warning the world to prepare for Christ’s second coming—a work calling for spiritual and physical health reform and restoration of the law of God in the hearts of man.
See Luke 1: 17; Malachi 4: 4, 5; Isa. 40:3-8.
“John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord and to turn the people to the wisdom of the just. He was a representative of those living in these last days to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to present before the people to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. . . .
“Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance [self-control] in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.”
“The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age.” – E. G. White, Maranatha, p. 118.
“Idolatry, gluttony, and extravagance in dress and other things”—intemperance. These are the specific areas where the public mind is to be stirred up because these are the sins of the age. Those who proclaim such messages in different ways, by calling their attention to the all-embracing principles of God’s law—moral and natural—are helping to prepare the way of the Lord in these last days. They are the Elijahs and Johns of the last days.
The other individuals who were resurrected but were still subject to death since their mortal natures were not yet rendered immortal, and their corruptible flesh and bodies were not yet rendered eternally incorruptible—not till the second coming of Christ—were:
- In the Old Testament times:
- The son of the widow of Zarepath (or Sarepta), raised through Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24)
- The son of the formerly barren Shunamite woman, raised through Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-37).
- An unnamed man dead man, who, when his body was hurriedly placed in the tomb of Elisha as the men burying him spotted a band of Moabite raiders who were marauding the land, the man resurrected. 2 Kings 14: 20, 21. This is quite interesting.
- In the New Testament times: Jairus, the ruler’s daughter (Matt. 9: 18, 23-25), raised by Jesus.
- An unnamed man, the only son of a woman in Nain, resurrected by Jesus (Luke 7: 11-23)
- Lazarus of Bethany, already dead four days, by Jesus (John 11: 43, 44, 1- 57). The reason for His delay in going to Bethany was so that “the crowning miracle, the raising of Lazarus, was to set the seal of God on His work and on His claim to divinity.” –Ibid, p. 529. Why did Jesus take so long to get to the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus when He was informed earlier that Lazarus was very ill? “He had the training of His disciples to consider. They were to be His representatives to the world, that the Father’s blessing may embrace all. For their sakes He permitted Lazarus to die. Had He restored him from illness to health, the miracle that is the most positive evidence of His divine character would not have been performed.” – Ibid, p. 528.
- Dorcas (or Tabitha) at Joppa, by Peter (Acts 9:36-40).
- 5. Eutychus, who fell asleep on top of a window while Paul was preaching the whole Saturday night till morning, and fell to his death. (Acts 20: 7-12).
Some say there could have been other genuine resurrections. But these are the only ones cited in the Bible. And it is safer to rely on the Scriptures than on the opinion or even the actual observation of fellow mortals. In fact, it will be the apparent resurrection of dead people in the end that will be part of the grand final deception of spiritualism by Satan that will finally take the whole world captive leading up to the “final overmastering deception” when Satan impersonates Christ during sixth plague, Rev. 16:12-16. (to be continued)