70AD-ONGOING The Resurrection of the Just

"The Resurrection of the Just and the Unjust"
by Thomas K. Burk


The chief function of prophecy is not to predict the future, but to bear testimony of the validity of Jesus as mankind's Messiah, and to call the redeemed in Christ into harmony with Jesus' New Covenant.

God promises judgment for those found rebellious to His Covenant, and He promises divine intervention to those obedient to its stipulations. Throughout the Bible this is referred to as "the curse" and "the blessing." (See Deuteronomy 28; Moses' Song in Deuteronomy 31; Leviticus 26; Matthew
7:24-27; Galatians 6:8)


Since the beginning of time, men have hoped for longevity of life both in this earthly existence as well as beyond the grave. The biblical question of resurrection and everlasting life must be answered first by looking at what the Scripture describes as death.

The first mention of death is that of Adam and Eve's. This death took place upon their eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Men have often taught that Adam and Eve would never have physically died if they had not eaten the fruit of this tree. But nowhere do we find this taught in the Bible. Instead what we do find is God telling Adam he would die upon eating this fruit, and when he did eat, he did not die a physical but spiritual death. Because so, the life Jesus came to revive in mankind was not a physical one, since this is not what was lost, but was instead one that was and is spiritual.

Jesus never promised our physical bodies would never die, nor did He ever say that our physical bodies would be resurrected from the grave, however, Jesus did promise that His believers would never die and that they would live forever. Jesus explained the sense of biblical resurrection to Martha while standing together outside the burial grave of His friend, Lazarus. Here is what the Bible records concerning this: "Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection AT THE LAST DAY. Jesus said unto her, I AM the RESURRECTION, and the LIFE: he that believeth in me, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE: And WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?" (John 11:24-26) Martha, through her Jewish understanding of the resurrection correctly indicated the timing of this occurrence was to be on the “LAST DAY.” This day is the same as found throughout the Bible, and refers the last day of the Old Covenant i.e. 70-73 AD. (See John 6:39-40,
6:47, 6:54, 12:48; 1 Corinthians 5:5) Jesus never corrected her, but said, not that He WOULD BE resurrected, but that He WAS that resurrection and life. Jesus then gave the key to understand when and what all this meant:


Jesus said, "He that believeth in me, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE." This refers to those who placed their faith in the redeemer who God said would someday come. This promise was given to the first men to die, Adam and Eve. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15) This was the first prophecy for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Because so, it set the precedent for what all the Old Testament saints expected when He came which includes He would come through a woman, He would be of the flesh like unto His brethren, and through His flesh (His sacrifice) He would destroy the spiritual hold satan had on mankind thereby bringing a spiritual reunion or reconciliation with their Creator, God. In reference to this, the writer of Hebrews said, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:14-17)


As time passed, these Old Testament saints passed from this life to the grave. Their time there is described in the Bible as a time of "sleep." (See Deuteronomy 31:16; 1Kings
1:21; Acts 13:36; 1Corinthians 15:51; 1Thessalonians 4:14) The prophet Daniel stated, "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." (Daniel 12:2)

The time frame he placed for those asleep to rise is found in Daniel 12:7: "And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that liveth forever that IT SHALL BE FOR A TIME, TIMES, AND A HALF; and when he shall have accomplished TO SCATTER THE POWER OF THE HOLY PEOPLE, all these things shall be finished." "Times, times, and a half" equates to the same as saying 42 months or 1260 days or 3½ years. This timeframe refers to the 3½ year siege and destruction of both
Jerusalem and her Temple. This siege began in 66 AD when the Roman Emperor Nero gave two simple commands: destroy the city of Jerusalem and level her temple. To accomplish this fiat he picked a father and son to lead his Roman troops. The father was a fifty-seven year old commander named Vespasian, and his ambitious son’s name was Titus. After a series of political events in Rome, Titus began his assault around April, AD 70. This was forty years (one generation) to the week from the crucifixion of Christ. Titus’ soldiers breached the third Wall of Jerusalem on May 25, and captured the newer parts of the city. By June they proceeded to enter the second quarter as the Jews withdrew behind the first wall. The Antonia Fortress fell to Titus on July 22, which was followed by the Romans burning the gates of the Temple and entering its courtyards. The Temple was burnt August 10, AD 70, the same exact day and month on which it had years before been burnt by the king of Babylon. Romans burned the LowerCity, assaulted Herod’s Palace, and entered the UpperCity around September 2. This thereby ended the Jewish resistance on September 26, 70AD. This destruction is what Daniel referred to when he wrote "scatter the power of the holy people."


This same overthrow of governments also correlates to the time when Jesus' New Covenant fully replaced the Old Covenant, thereby establishing it alone as God's everlasting covenant with mankind. This meant that all that was promised in the Old Testament was then complete, and the faithful who had died prior to this fulfillment were resurrected from their graves to go and live forever in the presence of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is what Daniel indicated would happen at the time of the "Great Tribulation": "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was [Compare with Matthew 24:21] since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life [resurrection and blessings], and some to shame and everlasting contempt [judgment and curses]. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." (Daniel 12:1-3)

Paul spoke of this time in the following verses: "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel ["at that time shall Michael stand up" –Daniel 12:1], and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

The second part of Daniel 12:3 states, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." This also occurred in 70AD which was spoken of by Jesus when He said, "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN [The sun is the SON—Jesus! See Revelation
21:22-24] in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 13:41-43) These passages show that Jesus' words to Martha about "He that believeth in me, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE," came to pass exactly as He promised. Those who perished pre-70AD rose from their sleep in victorious everlasting life during the timeframe Jesus had said.

The latter part of Paul's words in 1 Thessalonians 4 says, "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." (1 Thessalonians 4:17) Paul's words of comfort here are juxtapositional to the promise Jesus made to Martha: "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." (John 11:26) Those who were alive after 70AD were not received in the resurrection from sleep, but were given the same hope of eternal life only with a more powerful promise—no grave and no death!

One of the favorite scriptures of Christianity is John 3:16. Please look again at exactly what it says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should NOT PERISH, but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE." Notice again that it literally says Jesus was offered so that any who believed in Him would NOT PERISH, but would instead receive EVERLASTING LIFE. "Perish" means "death," and "everlasting life" means "continuing without end, immortal." This prominent scripture therefore is saying Jesus literally died so that His followers would never see death, but instead would pass from this world into life eternal.

No wonder earlier in John 3 the Pharisaical leader, Nicodemus, asked, "How can these things be?" His question derived from Jesus' statement that said before one could see or enter the
Kingdom of God, they must be born of the water and of the Spirit. Nicodemus was a learned man in the things of the Old Covenant scriptures. His questioning about this occurrence was not because he was unfamiliar with the term "born again of water," because this was a common term in Judaism, and is found in the rabbinical commentary known as the Talmud. "...a proselyte is like a newborn infant." (b. Yevamot 62a; see also b. Yevamot 48b). A "proselyte" was a Gentile that converted to Judaism. Upon this conversion the candidate would immerse himself in a ceremonial cleansing pool of water called a "mikvah." (See Number 15:15; Leviticus 22:6) The Children of Israel knew that these mikvahs were not the one true mikvah that was to come, which was to be a cleansing that could only come through their Messiah. Jeremiah prophetically called Messiah the “hope of Israel.” (See Jeremiah 17:13) The word "HOPE" in the Hebrew is the word "MIKVAH." This literally means that Jesus was to be the “BAPTISM” of Israel! This cleansing flow began when water and blood poured at Calvary from the wound in Jesus' side. (See Zechariah 13:1; John 19:34; 1 John 5:6) On this, the Jewish Encyclopedia.com, by Kaufmann Kohler and Samuel Krauss said: "To receive the spirit of God, or to be permitted to stand in the presence of God (His Shekinah), man must undergo Baptism (Tan., Meẓora', 6, ed. Buber, p. 46), wherefore in the Messianic time God will Himself pour water of purification upon Israel in accordance with Ezek. xxxvi. 25 (Tan., Meẓora', 9-17, 18, ed. Buber, pp. 43, 53)" But the thing that made Nicodemus take notice in John 3 was that he knew the birth of the "Spirit" to which Jesus referred was prophesied to take place at the time of the Messiah, which was to happen during the last days of the Jewish age. (See Isaiah 61:1-2; Ezekiel 11:17-21, 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21)

Again what life did John 3:16 say Jesus came to bring mankind? Everlasting! So as a person is born again of the water and of the Spirit in Jesus' name, they are thereby translated from their former life of sin and death, and into the
Kingdom of Jesus in which they will never see death. This is the promise of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. Concerning this state of life, Paul wrote: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, WE SHALL BE ALSO IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. NOW IF WE BE DEAD WITH CHRIST, WE BELIEVE THAT WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; DEATH HATH NO MORE DOMINION OVER HIM. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. LIKEWISE RECKON YE ALSO YOURSELVES TO BE DEAD INDEED UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." (Romans 6:3-11) Timothy received a similar promise from Paul when he wrote, "It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him [Jesus], we shall also live with him." (2 Timothy 2:11) And concerning this life being available to the Gentiles, the Apostle Peter wrote, "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 4:6) This promise of new spiritual life in this world and it translating us into everlasting life in the next is found throughout the Bible. (A few examples: John 3:15-18, 4:14, 5:24, 6:50, 6:54-58, 8:51-53, 10:28; Romans 8:13; 1 John 5:10-12)

This type of life is what Jesus was telling Martha those who believed in Him would receive. We hear of this mentioned many times at funerals when the minister says that the deceased is "NOW with Jesus, in a better place." He is not saying that the deceased's body is not there, but that the part of him, that which is biblically promised eternal life—the spiritual man/soul—is now alive in eternity with the Lord. This agrees with the witness of the Bible as shown in the next verse: "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ABSENT FROM THE BODY, and to be PRESENT WITH THE LORD." (2 Corinthians 5:8) This is exactly what is meant when the Bible says, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:50-57) The last trump sounded at 70AD when the holy people's strength was scattered. This occurred when the armies of Titus made their house (The Jewish Temple) desolate and then scattered those who survived this siege throughout the known world of their day. (Daniel 12:7; Matthew 23:37-38, 24:1-2; Luke 21:6, 20; Zechariah 13:6-9) To teach this trump sounded anytime before this would not have allowed these important prophecies to have been fulfilled, and to place it anytime after is to ignore the detailed accuracy of how each of these situations already took place in detail within the exact generation (This Generation:Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30-31; Luke 21:32-33) in which Jesus said they would see them come to pass. (See These Things:Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:29; Luke 21:31)


Now, those who have passed from their former Adamic life of death to a new life in Jesus will never see death. This means they will not pass by way of the grave for they will never—NEVER—die (sleep)! After all, how can the grave, which is something that Jesus has victory over and the keys to, have any hold on those who are in Him? (See 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Revelation 1:18) A baby leaving the fleshy world of its mother's womb to be born into the life in this world is similar to a believer leaving the fleshly womb of their bodily life to be born into eternity. And just as a baby is already showing signs of life while in the womb, a Holy Ghost filled believer also show signs of his regenerated spiritual life while in his body. And when his body is shed, he enters into the fullness of that which he had lived and hoped—everlasting life with Jesus Christ!

This truth is not new or obscure, but is one that is even sung about in many churches: "Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! May I thy consolation share, Till, from
MountPisgah’s lofty height, I view my home and take my flight: This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise. To seize the everlasting prize; And shout, while passing through the air, 'Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!'" ("Sweet Hour," William B. Bradbury, Golden Chain, New York: 1861) "MountPisgah" was the lofty height from where Moses saw all the physical Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 34:1) Upon leaving our physical "robe of flesh" behind, we do spiritually enter that perfect land, not one that can be limited in value by moth or rust, but one that Moses and all the prophets longed for—Beulah Land—the eternal home of the righteous—the city whose builder and maker is God!


In an effort to discredit Apostolic Preterism, some have said its teachings on the resurrection are closely aligned with the error commonly called the "Hymenaean heresy." Concerning this false teaching, Paul wrote: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:15-18) A few things to consider when trying determining exactly what Hymenaeus and Philetus taught are:

Paul never corrected these men on their view of what the resurrection would be, just on the timing of its occurrence. Remember, nowhere does Paul's rebuke say these men said this was a "physical, bodily resurrection," and since we do not see Paul saying that they used physical bodies as their proof, we can deduce that they taught their resurrection was spiritual in nature. This type resurrection, as mentioned afore, agrees with that found in the biblical narratives of both the Old and New Testaments.

We know this writing was pre-70AD since Paul died at the hand of Nero somewhere around 65 AD. This means their error was based on bad exegesis of when this event was to occur. This was why Paul first said here that a believer should "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." If these men had heeded the Apostle's words, they would have seen that their Old Testament writings clearly told that this resurrection could not occur until after the stipulations of that "last day" had first been met. Had they done their homework, we never would have known about their miscalculated doctrine.

Some have wondered if Hymenaeus and Philetus wrongly thought that those who were resurrected at the time of Jesus' resurrection were all that would be raised to live eternally. (Matthew 27:50-54) This is possible, but since Paul does not mention this as being the case, no one should dogmatically teach it as such.

These men may have been in error because they thought the only transformed life one received was that which comes during this lifetime. This is similar to the error of the Sadducees, and was address as such by Jesus. (See Matthew 22:23-32) Paul also addressed this error in his famous 1 Corinthians chapter on the resurrection: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (1 Corinthians 15:19) Since this doctrine was already a New Testament issue, I feel this witness lends credence that this was probably the error made here by these men.

Regardless of what Hymenaeus and Philetus taught, or why they taught it, their doctrine is not comparable to the resurrection taught in Apostolic Preterism. Paul commanded believers to "rightly divide the Word of truth." Because so, for a person to use this scantly described error as reason enough to reject the abundance of resurrection scriptures used in the Apostolic Preterist position, is to fall into the same error these men found themselves. Their critical view was derived from ignoring scriptures, which would have corrected their error had they studied them to "show themselves approved." Those who use the "Hymenaean heresy" as evidence against the afore mentioned Apostolic Preterist view of the resurrection, have similarly fallen into the same trap of inept hermeneutics as did Hymenaeus and Philetus. Because so, instead of simply using the words from this lone obscure passage, they should first study the whole counsel of God's Word before deciding the conclusion of this important matter.


Last, but certainly not least, is the resurrection on which our Christian hope is based, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus had told Martha that He WAS the resurrection and the life, and the witness of Scripture bares this out to be true. To see how this relates to a believer, let's study some of its truths:


This central truth of Jesus Christ is found in Paul's well-known chapter on the resurrection found in 1 Corinthian 15. Here is how Paul began this chapter:"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures; And THAT HE WAS BURIED, and THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Jesus' scriptural fulfillment of all three of these points is equally vital to our salvation. Jesus' work here makes up that which constitutes the "power of God unto our salvation," since through Jesus' salvic work in the Gospel, we are considered jointly dead, jointly buried, and jointly resurrected with Him, whereby we, like Jesus, pass from death into eternal life. (See Romans 1:16, 6:4, 9; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:18) This is why Paul said the Gospel was the means "by which we are saved." Saved from what? Our old nature and death! Paul said as much in his second epistle to his son in the Gospel, Timothy: "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, WHO HATH ABOLISHED DEATH, and hath BROUGHT LIFE [in this life because the old man is dead and the new man is alive] AND IMMORTALITY [life in the next because the grave has no sting nor victory over a believer] TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL." (2 Timothy 1:10) Look at how this same passage is translated in the Amplified Bible: "[It is that purpose and grace] which He now has made known and has fully disclosed and made real [to us] through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, WHO ANNULLED DEATH AND MADE IT OF NO EFFECT AND BROUGHT LIFE AND IMMORTALITY (IMMUNITY FROM ETERNAL DEATH) TO LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL." (2 Timothy 1:10 AMP)

Paul's words show us that through Jesus' Gospel, life in this existence and everlasting immortality for the next is now made available to all who are born again of its message. Jesus' death and resurrection was a necessary part of His Messiahship and was spoken as such throughout the Old Testament writings. This is what Jesus said to the grieving disciples on the road to Emmaus. "O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL THAT THE PROPHETS HAVE SPOKEN: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And BEGINNING AT MOSES AND ALL THE PROPHETS, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27) These Old Testament witnesses of the Gospel are not so much literally discerned as they are spiritually. One example of this is found Jesus' prediction about His own death, burial, and resurrection: "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: FOR AS JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE'S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH." (Matthew 12:38-40) Jesus used this to show that Jonah's story spoke past its Old Testament time to the time when the coming Messiah would bring salvation to both this prophet, Jonah, and the rest of the world. John 2:18-22 records another occasion where the Jews sought for a sign of Jesus' Messiahship: "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and IN THREE DAYS I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. WHEN THEREFORE HE WAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and THEY BELIEVED THE SCRIPTURE, AND THE WORD WHICH JESUS HAD SAID." (“Three Days,” see also Matthew 12:40, 26:61, 27:40, 63; Mark 8:31, 14:58, 15:29; John 2:19-20) Jesus' resurrection caused His disciples to believe what He and the Old Testament writers had said about the biblical resurrection. This brings us to the next point….


Jesus' victory over the grave was shared with others and is recorded in the pages of our New Testament: "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And THE GRAVES WERE OPENED; AND MANY BODIES OF THE SAINTS WHICH SLEPT AROSE, AND CAME OUT OF THE GRAVES AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, AND WENT INTO THE HOLY CITY, AND APPEARED UNTO MANY. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God." (Matthew 27:50-54) The saints resurrected here must have recently died in Christ, because saints asleep from several to hundreds of years would not have easily been believed, since it would be very difficult if not completely impossible to find someone to vouch for their deaths. These who resurrected could have included believers like John the Baptist and other notable believers from that time.

This resurrection should not be confused with the resurrection for those who slept in their graves since it does not meet all the stipulations of when this was to take place. This coinciding resurrection with Jesus' was the fulfillment of the biblical wave offering. Here is its command: "And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD." (Leviticus 23:9-12) This wave offering was the physical representative part of the remainder of the coming harvest. It was the physical first thrust from the sickle that was waved as a witness of the harvest that was to follow. Although I do not agree with his Dispensational beliefs, the famous Dispensational teacher, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, wrote in agreement on this in the study notes of his Scofield Reference Bible. Here is what he recorded there about what these resurrected saints represent: "That these bodies returned to their graves is not said and may not be inferred. THE WAVE-SHEAF (Leviticus 23:10-12) typifies the resurrection of Christ, but a sheaf implies plurality. It was a single "corn of wheat" that fell into the ground in the crucifixion and entombment of Christ (John 12:24); IT WAS A SHEAF WHICH CAME FORTH IN RESURRECTION. The inference is that these saints, with the spirits of 'just men made perfect' (Hebrews 12:23) from Paradise, went with Jesus (Ephesians 4:8-10) into heaven." (Scofield Reference Notes 1917 Edition) Scofield indicated that this resurrection was basically the showcase for what was to later come. Scofield was not the only one to teach this. A contemporary of his wrote: "The saints . . . were raised. Who is not stated, or whether their bodies returned to the grave again. Their rising was A TESTIMONY that the death of Christ is life to the saints." (The People's New Testament [1891] by B. W. Johnson) Jesus' resurrection, as well as those who were simultaneously released from their graves, were waved before the people as physical evidence of what the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ held for all who believed and obeyed its promise.

Jesus was resurrected in His glorified physical body, but His was the only body that the Bible ever promised would NOT see corruption in the grave. (See Psalms 16:10) He rose not as a phantom, but in a body that was of flesh and bone that was able to eat fish and honeycomb. (See Luke 24:39, 42) But this was also a body that could change its appearance, disappear or reappear at will, and even walk through walls. (See Luke 24:31, 36; John 19:19-20) And since the wave offering was a harvest of similar grain, these saints that arose with Jesus likewise must have resurrected in bodies similar to His. This does not dictate that those who later rose from their grave in 70AD rose in "physical bodies," because the only physical manifestation that was required for the wave offering was that which was first harvested, not that which was to follow.

An easy way to understand this is to see that Jesus and those who arose with Him was representative of the early grain. That harvest was biblically mandated to be shown as a witness of the promised harvest which was to come. But those who arose after the coming judgment of that generation were the later harvest. The body of this grain was for consumption, and therefore no bodily witness was required. This is why later around 70AD those who were asleep in the faith could awake and rise up in spiritual bodies, while leaving their decayed (consumed) physical bodies behind in the grave.


The question is always asked, "What happened to the bodies of those who rose with Jesus?" Here is what one commentary that predated the popularization of Dispensationalism said concerning this: "What became of them after they had entered into the city whether they again died or ascended to heaven, is not revealed, and conjecture is vain." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible –Albert Barnes 1798-1870) The bottom line is the Bible does NOT tell us where the bodies of these saints ended up, but it does say that our old earthy bodies will stay in the grave but our new spiritual bodies will rise to live forever. Look at what Paul said about this miraculous change: "But some man will say, HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP? AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 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. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. SO ALSO IS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: IT IS SOWN A NATURAL BODY; IT IS RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And AS WE HAVE BORNE THE IMAGE OF THE EARTHY, WE SHALL ALSO BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15:35-50) In the earth a seed dies and deteriorates so that the life found within it can arise and bring forth fruit. A human also is buried and returns to the very humus from which he was made. And just like the plant, his former shell deteriorates in the ground, but the life within him rises to newness of life. This life originates from the quickening spirit of the last Adam—Jesus. He causes the Spirit found inside a human to rise beyond his earthly beginnings so that he can live eternally in the image of his Heavenly Creator! This dictates that the body which went into the earth cannot be the same as that which comes out, since the resurrected body is born from a different Adam who originated from a different sphere of existence. (See John 1:14, 3:13, 31; Philippians 3:19-21)


The resurrection hope is an awesome truth, so much so that it caused Jesus to ask Martha, "Ye shall never die. Believe ye this?" The price Jesus paid made His Gospel—death, burial, and resurrection—available to all. This was not something we could earn, but it had to be given by a loving Savior. The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." (Romans 6:23) And just as Jesus asked Martha, "Believe ye this?" if through faith and obedience any person does, they also will never die, but will receive the eternal life that is found only through Jesus Christ and His New Covenant message.

Thomas K. Burk is an elder at Soul’s Harbor Apostolic Church, Manitowoc, WI, and Editor in Chief of OnTime Journal Ministries (www.ontimejournal.com).
You can contact him for reprint or quote permission by mail at:
1137 N. 16th
St., Manitowoc, WI 54220-2606;
by phone at: 920.682.2524;
or by email at: tkburk@ontimejournal.com