On Eagles Wings Ministries

Dr. Rudy Rodriguez D.D.

Dr. Rudy Rodriguez D.D.

Dr. Rudy is like no other educator in the industry. His method follows a 3 step process he has perfected through 2 decades getting results for himself and over a decade helping people just like you get results.

Resurrection Foretold in the Old Testament          

            We shall now go on to show that the divine promise of the resurrection runs as one continuous thread throughout the whole Bible, both Old and New Testament alike.

            In 1 Corinthians 15:4 Paul makes the following statement concerning the burial and resurrection of Jesus.

            That He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

            Bear in mind that during the period in which Paul wrote these words the only complete, acknowledged Scriptures were those of the Old Testament. Consequently, when Paul says here that Jesus rose again the third day “according to the Scriptures,” he means that the resurrection of Jesus was a fulfilment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

            Furthermore, Paul refers to the Old Testament Scriptures as being the first and basic authority for the doctrine of the resurrection. He goes on to cite the evidence of men still alive at that time who had been eyewitnesses of the risen Jesus. However, in Paul’s presentation of this doctrine, the evidence of contemporary eyewitnesses is secondary to that of the Old Testament Scriptures.

            Let us therefore consider some of the main passages in the Old Testament which foretell the resurrection.

The Psalms

            In the previous chapter we have already shown that there is a clear promise of the burial and resurrection of Jesus in Psalm 16:8-11. We pointed out that, although these verses were spoken in the first person by David, they do not actually apply to David himself but rather to David’s promised seed, the Messiah, Jesus Jesus. They are also applied to Jesus in the New Testament both by Peter and by Paul.

            In Psalm 71:20-21 a similar passage foretells the resurrection of Jesus. David is here speaking directly to God, and he says:

            You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,

            Shall revive me again,

            And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

            You shall increase my greatness,

            And comfort me on every side.

            This passage is another example of messianic prophecy. That is to say, the words are spoken in the first person by David; yet they do not apply primarily to David but to David’s promised seed, the Messiah, Jesus.

            Understood in this way, this passage prophetically sets forth five successive stages that Jesus was to pass through in making atonement for man’s sin. These may be summarised as follows.

  1.   Great and severe troubles – the rejection, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.
  2.   Jesus was to descend into the depths of the earth – into Sheol or Hades, the place of departed spirits.
  3.   Jesus was to be revived – made alive again.
  4.   Jesus was to be brought up again from Sheol – that is, the resurrection of Jesus.
  5.   After the resurrection of Jesus, He was to be increased in greatness and comforted – that is, restored once again to His place of fellowship and supreme authority at the right hand of God His Father.

            Time and space are not sufficient to quote the many passages in the New Testament which confirm that this prophecy was completely fulfilled in the experience of Jesus.

            However, the two Old Testament passages which we have so far examined, Psalm 16 and Psalm 71, refer primarily to the resurrection of Jesus Himself as the Messiah. Let us now examine other passages of the Old Testament which foretell the resurrection of others besides Jesus Himself.

            

Genesis

            Let us begin by considering one of God’s promises made to Abraham.

            Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession (Gen. 17:8).

            There are two important points to notice in this promise. First of all, the order of possession is important. God says, “. . . to you and your descendants after you.” That is to say, Abraham himself is to possess the land first, and then his descendants after him.

            Second, the extent and duration of possession are important. God says, “. . . all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession.” This promise cannot be fulfilled by any occupation of the land that is partial or temporary. Its fulfilment demands a complete and permanent possession of the whole land.

            It is plain therefore that up to now this promise of God to Abraham has never been fulfilled. The only part of the land that Abraham himself has hitherto received for a permanent possession is just space enough in which to be buried – that is, the burial place in the cave of Machpelah in the field of Ephron the Hittite, near Hebron.

            As for Abraham’s seed, the nation of Israel, until now they have enjoyed temporary or partial occupation of the land, but they have never known the complete and permanent possession promised by God. At present the state of Israel clings tenaciously, in the face of every kind of opposition, to an area that is a small fraction of the total possession promised by God.

            Even if in the years that lie ahead Israel should continue to extend its area of occupation until it gains control of the whole land promised by God, this still would not constitute a complete fulfilment of God’s original promise to Abraham, which was “to you and your descendants after you.” That is to say, Abraham himself must first enjoy possession of the whole land, and then his descendants after him.

            Thus, this promise of God cannot be fulfilled apart from the resurrection. The cave of Machpelah must first give up its dead. Abraham himself must be resurrected. Only in this way can he ever enter into the full possession of the land in which he now lies buried. If there is no resurrection, then God’s promise to Abraham can never be fulfilled. The promise of God here made to Abraham assumes, and depends upon, the resurrection.

            We find therefore that this promise to Abraham concerning the everlasting possession of the land of Canaan includes within it the promise of Abraham’s own resurrection from the dead. In this way the truth of the resurrection is already revealed in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament.

            Job

 

            Let us now turn to another book of the Old Testament which is usually attributed to an early date – the book of Job. In the midst of overwhelming grief and affliction, when his earthly future appears to be without a single ray of hope, Job gives utterance to an amazing confession of faith concerning the eternal destiny of his soul and the resurrection of his body.

            For I know that my Redeemer lives,

            And He shall stand at last on the earth;

            And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

            That in my flesh I shall see God,

            Whom I shall see for myself,

            And my eyes shall behold, and not another (Job 19:25-27).

            The language of Job is so terse and so charged with meaning that it is difficult to find any one translation which adequately brings out the full force of the original. The following is an alternative translation of the central section of the passage just quoted.

            After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh shall I see God . . .

            Whichever translation we may prefer, certain facts stand out with absolute clarity from this passage. Job knows that his physical body will suffer the process of decomposition. Nevertheless, he looks forward to a period at the end of time when he will again be clothed with a body of flesh and appear in that body directly before God. This assurance of Job is based on the life of one whom he calls “my Redeemer.”

            Thus the whole passage is a clear anticipation of the final resurrection of Job’s body, made possible through the resurrection of the Redeemer, Jesus Jesus.

            Isaiah

 

            We may now turn to the prophet Isaiah, who lived about seven hundred years before Jesus. Isaiah makes a confession of faith in the resurrection, somewhat similar to that of Job.

            Your dead shall live;

            Together with my dead body they shall arise.

            Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust;

            For your dew is like the dew of herbs,

            And the earth shall cast out the dead (Is. 26:19).

            Isaiah speaks about his own dead body arising from the dust, and together with this he associates a group whom he calls, at the beginning of the verse, “Your dead,” and again, more generally, at the end of the verse, “the dead.” It is plain that Isaiah contemplates a general resurrection of many, if not all, of the dead.

            The prospect is one that brings joy to those concerned, for Isaiah says, “Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust.” It would seem therefore that Isaiah’s message is addressed primarily to the righteous dead, who, through the resurrection, will be ushered into their final, eternal reward.

            In agreement with conclusions reached in earlier studies, we see that Isaiah views the resurrection as affecting primarily the material part of man – his body. He speaks about those “who dwell in dust.” The picture which he presents is that of men’s dead bodies arising or awakening out of their sleep in the dust.

            Isaiah also depicts the supernatural power which will affect the resurrection as “dew.”

            For your dew is like the dew of herbs,

            And the earth shall cast out the dead (Is. 26:19).

            The picture is one of dry seeds lying buried in the dust and requiring moisture to make them germinate and spring up.

            This moisture is provided by the dew settling upon them. In many passages of Scripture, dew – like rain – is a figure of the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus Isaiah foretells that the resurrection of the dead bodies of believers will be effected through the power of the Holy Spirit.

            This is confirmed by Paul.

            But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom. 8:11).

            Paul states that the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised the dead body of Jesus out of the tomb will also raise up the dead bodies of those who believe in Jesus and who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

            Daniel

 

            The next main Old Testament prophecy of the resurrection which we shall consider is found in Daniel 12:1-3. These verses are part of a lengthy prophetic revelation concerning the last days, given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, who was sent to him by God for that special purpose. This part of the revelation, which deals specifically with the resurrection, reads as follows.

            At that time Michael shall stand up,

            The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your
 people;

            And there shall be a time of trouble,

            Such as never was since there was a nation,

            Even to that time.

            And at that time your people shall be delivered,

            Every one who is found written in the book.

            And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,

            Some to everlasting life,

            Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

            Those who are wise shall shine

            Like the brightness of the firmament,

            And those who turn many to righteousness

            Like the stars forever and ever.

            The first part of this revelation refers specifically to Daniel’s own people, Israel, and speaks of a time of trouble even greater than any that Israel has hitherto passed through. This is undoubtedly the same time of trouble referred to in Jeremiah.

            Alas! For that day is great,

            So that none is like it;

            And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,

            But he shall be saved out of it (30:7).

            Jeremiah indicates that though this time of trouble will be greater than any that Israel has previously passed through, yet Israel will be saved out of it and not destroyed. This agrees with the statement in Daniel 12:1.

            And at that time your people shall be delivered,

            Every one who is found written in the book.

            At this time of greatest tribulation God Himself will ultimately intervene and save the chosen remnant of Israel whom in His grace He has foreknown and foreordained for salvation.

            No doubt this time of Israel’s trouble is one main phase of the total period of intense trouble destined to come upon the entire world, called in the New Testament “the great tribulation.”

            Directly associated with this final period of tribulation is a prophecy of the resurrection, for Gabriel says in Daniel 12:2:

            And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall
 awake,

            Some to everlasting life,

            Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

            The language used in Daniel is closely parallel to that of Isaiah. Both speak of those that “dwell in the dust”; both speak of the resurrection as an “awakening” out of the dust. However, the revelation of Daniel goes further than that of Isaiah, for it indicates that there will be two distinct phases of the resurrection – one for the righteous, who will be ushered into everlasting life, and one for the wicked, who will be doomed to shame and everlasting contempt.

            The reward of the righteous at the resurrection will be based on their faithfulness in serving God and in making known His truth while on earth.

            Those who are wise shall shine

            Like the brightness of the firmament,

            And those who turn many to righteousness

            Like the stars forever and ever (Dan. 12:3).

            Here there is a distinction between those who are wise to the salvation of their own souls and those who go further than this and turn many others also to righteousness. Both alike will enter into glory, but the glory of the latter will be greater than the glory of the former.

            From the passages we have considered, we see that the theme of the resurrection runs like a thread all through the Old Testament. The details of this revelation become progressively clearer until in Daniel we are told that the resurrection will be closely associated with the period of the great tribulation and that it will occur in two distinct phases: one for the righteous and one for the wicked.

            Before we close this study of Old Testament prophecies of the resurrection, there is one further point of great interest and importance which needs to be established.

            Hosea

 

            In the passage already quoted from 1 Corinthians 15:4, Paul says that Jesus “rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Not merely was the resurrection of Jesus foretold in the Old Testament, but it was even foretold that Jesus would rise from the dead the third day. We may ask: Where in the Old Testament can we find this specific prophecy that Jesus would rise again on the third day? Hosea provides the answer.

            Come, and let us return to the Lord;

            For He has torn, but He will heal us;

            He has stricken, but He will bind us up.

            After two days He will revive us;

            On the third day He will raise us up,

            That we may live in His sight.

            Let us know,

            Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.

            His going forth is established as the morning;

            He will come to us like the rain,

            Like the latter and former rain to the earth (6:1-3).

            This prophecy commences with a promise of forgiveness and healing to those who will return to the Lord in repentance and faith. Then, in the second verse, comes the clear prediction of the resurrection on the third day: “On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight”
(Hos. 6:2). This promise is given in the plural, not the singular: “He will raise us up . . . we may live in His sight.” That is to say, the promise refers not only to the resurrection of Jesus but also includes all those who obey the exhortation to return to God in repentance and faith.

            In order to understand the full implications of this prophecy, we must turn to the complete revelation of the gospel as given by God to the church through Paul in the New Testament.

            All Believers Included in Jesus’s Resurrection

 

            In Romans 6:6 Paul says:

            Our old man was crucified with Him [that is, with Jesus].

            Again, in Galatians 2:20 he says:

            I have been crucified with Jesus.

            These and other similar passages reveal that in making atonement for man’s sin, Jesus deliberately made Himself one with the sinner: He took the sinner’s guilt. He made Himself one with the sinner’s corrupt and fallen nature. He died the sinner’s death. He paid the sinner’s penalty.

            Thereafter, it remains for us as sinners to accept by faith our identification with Jesus. When we do this, we find that we are identified with Him not only in His death and burial, but also in His resurrection from the dead and in the new, immortal resurrection life which He now enjoys.

            God . . . made us alive together with Jesus . . . and raised us up together [that is, from the dead], and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Jesus Jesus (Eph. 2:4-6).

            As soon as we are willing, by faith, to accept our identification with Jesus in His death for our sins, we find that we are also identified with Jesus in His resurrection and in His victorious life upon God’s throne. Entering in through His death, we become partakers also of His resurrection.

            In brief but powerful words, Jesus conveyed the same truth to His disciples.

            Because I live, you will live also (John 14:19).

            This is why the prophetic revelation states in Hosea 6:2:

            On the third day He will raise us up,

            That we may live in His sight.

            This prophecy reveals not only that Jesus was to be raised on the third day, but also that, according to God’s eternal purpose in the gospel, all those who believed in Jesus were to be identified with Him in His resurrection. In this respect, Hosea’s prophecy is characteristic of Old Testament prophecy as a whole in that it does not merely predict an event which is to take place, but at the same time it also reveals the true spiritual significance of that event and its connection with God’s whole purpose in the gospel.

            However, Hosea also warns that this secret of God’s purpose in the resurrection of Jesus will be revealed only to those who are willing to seek the truth with faith and diligence, for he says in the next verse:

            Let us know,

            Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord (Hos. 6:3).

            This revelation is only for those who “pursue the knowledge of the Lord.”

            For those who do, Hosea continues: “His going forth is established as the morning” (Hos. 6:3). That is, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is as sure and certain in God’s purpose as the rising of the sun after the darkness of night. This is closely parallel to the prophecy of Jesus’s resurrection in Malachi.

            But to you who fear My name

            The Sun of Righteousness shall arise

            With healing in His wings (4:2).

            Again we notice a limitation of those to whom this revelation of the risen Jesus will be granted: It is not for all men but “to you who fear My name.”

            Finally, Hosea indicates that the resurrection of Jesus will be closely followed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for he continues:

            He will come to us like the rain,

            Like the latter and former rain to the earth (Hos. 6:3).

            The rain is here a figure of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring, divided into two main visitations – the former rain and the latter rain.

            In accurate fulfilment of this prophecy, the New Testament records that on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus’s resurrection, the former rain of the Holy Spirit began to be poured out upon His waiting disciples – those who had pursued the knowledge of the Lord.

            As we look back over the Old Testament prophecies of the resurrection of the righteous quoted in this chapter, one feature emerges which is common to them all: The saints of the Old Testament are to be included in it.

            We saw, for instance, that God’s promise of Canaan as an everlasting possession was made to Abraham first, then to his seed (descendants) after him. Paul says to  professing Christians: “You are Abraham’s seed [descendants]”
(Gal. 3:29). The resurrection of these New Testament descendants of Abraham will not precede that of Abraham himself.

            Job said, concerning himself: “I know that my Redeemer lives . . . in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26). Through faith in his Redeemer he looked forward to sharing in the resurrection of the righteous.

            Likewise, Isaiah spoke of a joyful resurrection of the righteous dead in which he was to be included.

            Your dead shall live;

            Together with my dead body they shall arise.

            Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust (Is. 26:19).

            Gabriel told Daniel that there was to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (see Dan. 12:2-3). Then the angel said to Daniel personally:

            You shall rest [in the grave], and will arise [be resurrected] to your inheritance at the end of the days (Dan. 12:13).

            Clearly, Daniel was to be included in the resurrection of the righteous.

            In Hosea’s prediction of the resurrection he said:

            On the third day He will raise us up,

            That we may live in His sight (Hos. 6:2, italics added).

            Hosea included himself in the predicted resurrection.

            For confirmation from the New Testament, we may turn to the words of Jesus.

            And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 8:11).

            Jesus speaks of believers from many different nations and backgrounds coming together at the resurrection with the three Old Testament patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This indicates that both Old Testament and New Testament believers will participate together in the resurrection of the righteous.

            All who will participate in this resurrection have one qualification in common: faith in Jesus’s atoning sacrifice. There is, however, a difference between the saints of the old covenant and those of the new. Under the old covenant believers looked forward – through various prophetic revelations – to a sacrifice that had not yet been offered. Under the new covenant believers look back to the historical facts of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

            Throughout the remainder of these studies we will assume, as an established fact, that the resurrection of the righteous will include the believers or saints of the old covenant as well as those of the new.